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Now published^ a/nd to he had at all Booksellers and all the Libraries, in One 
Vol.f handsoraeVy printed, post Svo. cloth hoards, price 5s. 



" It is our deliberate judgment that no first work by any author has ever been pub- 
lished in America showing more undoubtful symptoms of genuine poetic power than 
this. There are passages in it where imagination and language combine in the most 
artistic comfdetenesi." — Atlantic Monthly. 

** We, therefore, think that ' Sir Rohan's Ghost' will impress all classes of readers with 
the couTiction of its aiding, not ineffectually, the course of upright sentiment, by a nar- 
rative probable enough to be no fiction, and which carries throughout it evidences of 
mental powers rarely to be met with either severally or combined."— C!>wr< Journal. 

"This is admirable, and argues ability of a far higher order than is to be found in the 

major part of the volume That the author of * Sir Rohan's Ghost' 

has a rampant, exuberant faculty of no common order we freely admit, as such passages 
as those already quoted, and the following, will show," &c., iic.'-Atlaa, 

** One thing decidedly in favour of this book is that it is no way common-place. There 
is talent in it— there is even genius in it— the life-giving power which turns construction 

into creation There is remarkable pictorial power about the style. 

Indeed, a series of rich Florentine-school pictures might be made firom the verbal paintings 
in this volume."— Ctoftff. 

** The author of this work is a young American lady. It is very powerfiilly written, and 
we do not, therefore, wonder at the attention which it has excited in America. * Sir 
Bohan's Ghost ' is a crime by which his conscience is haunted. The interest of the book 
i^ consequently in the minute anatomy and vivid delineation of a long and imperishable 
Femorse; but, besides, the descriptions are marked by great gorgeousness and beauty. 
The fault of the book might almost be said to be in its excess of magnificence. Page after 
page is so uniformly dazzling, that we pant for a little quiet and shade. We doubt not 
that when the author has a somewhat better subject she will produce what will claim a 
place in the very foremost r«nk..**—Ilhutrated News of the World. 

** Such is a summary, patched together in a rude and imperfect manner, of a story 
which is told by one possessing not only good taste, but artistic feeling, and a rich flow 
of language, at times, perhaps, somewhat too redundant in its imagination and fancy. 
Interesting, however, and potent enough in its thoughts and novelty of style to induce 
more than a hasty T^tidmg.**— Manchester Examiner, 









From ike tenth Amtriean edUion, wiih emeTuUxtUnu and addAt%on» by the author 

" As it is the peculiar method of the Academy to interpose no personal judgment, but 
to admit those opinions whidi appear most probable, to compare arguments, and to sot 
forth all that may be reasonably stated in Jbyour of each proposition, and so without 
obtruding any authority of its own, to leave the judgment of the hearers &eo and unpre- 
judiced, we win retain this custom, which has been handed down firom Socrates ; and 
this method, dear brother Quintus, if you please, we will adopt, as often as possible, in 
all our dialogues together."-— Cicbbo de Divin. Lib. ii. § 72. 




f> -^^ . 189B 

From IJtie Library of 
p.'Ot. A. P, PFABODV ^1. 



\. .- 






Author's Advertisement to thb English Edition . . x 

Peepace to the American Edition . . . . xii 

List of Authors Cited « . . , . xvli 




Statement g9 the Subject . . . • . 1 

Is nltra-mundaiie interference reality, or delusion 7 — The inquiry practical, 
but hitherto discouraged — ^Time an essential element— Isaac Taylor — 
Jung Stilling — Swedenborg — ^Animal Magnetism — ^Arago's opinion — 
Dr. Carpent^s admissions — The American epidemic — Phenomena in- 
dependent of opinions — Sentiment linked to action — The home on the 
other side— Hades — Johnson, Byron, Addison, and Steele's opinions 
— ^Truth in every rank — The Ghost-Club — Contempt corrects not — 
Spiritualism an influential element — Dangers of over-credulity — De- 
moniac manifestations ? — Eeason the appointed pilot — Duty of research 
— How dispose of spontaneous phenomena ? — Martin Korky — 
Courage and impartiality demanded — A besetting temptation— feeble 
belief— Scepticism — Georget's conversion — Evidence of sense — Some 
truths appod to oonsdousness — Severe test applied to the subject 


The Impossiblb • , , . . .34 

Columbus in Barcelona — The marvd of marvels — Presumption-^There 
may be laws not yet in operation — Modem study of the imponderables 
— Arago and Cuvier's admissions — ^What may be. 


The Miraculous • • • « . 42 

Modem miracles njected — ^Hume — ^The Indian prince — Definition of a 
miracle— Chai^-bearing laws — Illustration from Babbage's calculat- 
ing madiine — ^That which has been may not always be — An error of 
two phases — Alleged miracles — Convulsionists of St. M^dard — Spiritual 
i^n<^, if it exist, not miraculous — Butler's and Tillotson's ideas of 





The Ihfbobable . . . . . .59 

Two modes of seeking truth — Circulation of the blood — Aerolites — Kogers, 
the poet, and La Place, the mathematician — Former improbabilities — 
Argument as to concurrence in testimony — Love of the marvellous mis- 
leads — Haunted houses — The monks of Chantilly — Mental epidemics 
of Europe — Modesty enlists confidence — One suoceiu not disproved by 
twenty failures — Hallucination — Second-sight — Diagoras at Samo- 
thracc — Faraday on table-moving — Consequences of doubting our senses 
— Contending probabilities should be weighed. 




Sleep in gbnebaii . . . . . .78 

A familiar marvel — An inscrutable world — Dreamless sleep — Perquin's 
observation — Does the soul sleep ? — A personal observation — Phases 
of sleep which have much in common — Sleeping powers occasionally 
transcend the waking — Cabanis — Condorcet — Condillac — Gregory — 
Franklin — L^al opinion written out in sle^p — Hypnotism — Carpenter's 
observations — Darwin's theory as to suspension of volition— Spiritual 
and mesmeric phenomena hypnotic — How is the nervous reservoir sup- 
plied ? — The cerebral battery^ and how it may possibly be charged — Ik 


Dbeams « . . . . . ,93 

Ancient opinions — Dreams and insanity — Dreams from the ivory 
gate — Fatal credulity — Dreams may be suggested by slight causes — 
Dreams may be intentionally suggested — An extatic vision — The 
past recalled in dream — Dreams verifying themselves — The l<jck- 
smith's apprentice — How a Paris editor obtained his wife — Death 
of Sir Charles Lee's daughter — Calphumia — ^The fishing-party— Signor 
Bomano's story — Dreams indicating a distant death — Macnish's dream 
—A shipwreck foreshadowed— :Dreams involving double coincidences — 
The lover's appearance in dream— Misleading influence of a romantic 
incident — Alderman Clay's dream — ^A Glasgow teller's dream — The 
arrears of teind — ^The same error may result in scepticism and in 
superstition — William Hewitt's dream — ^Mary Hewitt's dream — The 
murder near Wadebridge — The two field-mice — The Perdval murder 
seen in dream — Dreams may disdose trivial events — One dream the 
counterpart of another —The Joseph Wilkins dream — A miracle with- 
out a motive P^The Mary Goffe case — The Plymouth Club alarmed — 
We must take trouble, if we will get at truth — ^An obscure explana- 
tion—Representation (rf cerebral action? — Prescience in dreams — 
Goethe's grandfather — The visit foretold — The Indian mutiny fore- 
shadowed—Bell and Stephenson-^Murder by a negro prevented — In- 
ferences from this case — Dreams recorded in Scripture — ^Are all dreams 
untrustworthy ? 







No proof of gaudy supematuralism — A startling element presents itself 
— Poltergeister — What we find, not what we may expect to find- 
Ancient haanted houses. 


Nabbatives ...... 151 

Disturbances at Tedworth — First example of responding of the sounds — 
Glanvil's observations— Mr. Mompesson's attestation — The Wesley dis- 
turbances — John Wesley's narrative — Emily Wesley's narrative, and 
her experience thirty-four years later — Opinions of Dr. Clarke, Dr. 
Priestley, Southey, and Coleridge — The New Havensack case — Mrs, 
Crolding and her maid — The Castle of Slawensilc — Disturbances in 
Silesia — Dr. Eemer's inquiries — Councilor Hahn'sattestation — Twenty- 
five J ears after — Distiu*bance8 in the dwelling of the Seeress of Pre- 
vorst — Displacement of house-rafters — The law-suit — Disturbances 
legally attested — The farm-house of Baldarroch-f-An allied discovery 
— The credulousness of incredulity — Spicer's narrative of a four-years' 
disturbance — ^The cemetery of Ahrensbui^^ — Effects produced on animals 
—An official investigation^Its report— The Cideville parsonage — Dis- 
turbances in the north of France — Legal depositions — Verdict of the 
court — Additional proofs — The Rochester knockings — Disturbances at 
Hydesville — Kate Fox — ^All^ations of the sounds — ^Previous disturb- 
ances in the same house — Human bones found — Two pedlars disap- 
pear — One reappears — The other cannot be traced — ^The Stratford dis- 


SuMMiwa UP . . . . . * . 216 

Character of the testimony — Phenomena long continued, and such as 
could not be mere imaginations-— No expectation to influence — No 
motive for simulation — Whither ultra scepticism leads — Did Napoleon 
Buonaparte ever exist ? 




TOTJ0HIN& Hallucination. . . . • 219 

Difficult to determine what is hallucination — The image on the retina — 
Opinions of Burdach, Miiller, Baillarger, Dechambre, and De Bois- 
mont — Effects of imagination — Examples of different phases of hallu- 
cination — Illusion and hallucination — No collective balludnations^- 
Biological experiments — Reichenbach's observatioos — Exceptional cases 
of perception — The deaf-mute in the minority — Effect of medidne 
on perceptions — Is there evidence for epidemical hallucination ?— -De 
Gasparin's argument— The fanciful and the real. 




Appabitions op the Livino .... 230 

Jung StiUing's story — Apparition to a dergjman— Two apparitions of 
the living on the same day — The bride's t^ror — Suggestion as to rules 
of evidence — The Glasgow surgeon's assistant — Sight and sound — 
Apparition of the living seen by mother and daughter — Was this hallu- 
cination ?•— Dr. Donne's wife — Apparition at sea — The rescue — Appa- 
rition of the living at sea, and its practical result — The dying mother 
and her babe — Sleep or trance not an indispensable condition — The 
two sisters — Apparition of two living persons, they themselves being 
among the eye-witnesses — ^The red dress — Hasty generalization im- 
prudent — The visionary excursion — The counterpart appears where 
the thoughts or affections are ? 


Appabitioks op ths Dead ... . 261 

The spiritual b.dy — May it not occasionally show itself ?— A question 
not to be settled by closet theorists — Oberlin — His belief as to appari- 
tions — Lorenzo the Magnificent and the Improvisatore — Mr. Grose 
and the sceptical cardinal — ^Anna Maria Porter's visitor — ^The dead 
body and the boat-cloak — Apparition in India — An atheist's theory 
examined — The brother's appearance to the sister — Apparition at the 
moment of death — The nobleman and bis servant — Apparition wit- 
nessed by two independent observers — Louise — The Wynyard appari- 
tion, with corroborative testimony — ^Apparition of a stranger — The 
iron stove — Glimpse of a species of future punishment ? — The child^s 
bones found — Is there repentance and progress beyond the tomb ?«• 
Opinion of one of the Christian Fathers — The debt of three-and-ten- 
pence — Human character little altered by the death-change? — The 
stains of blood — The victim attracted to earth ? — The fourteenth of 
November — Through a (so-called) ghost an inaccuracy in a War- 
OflSce certificate is corrected — ^The old Kent manor-house — The 
Children family — Correct information regarding them obtained 
through an apparition — The author of Robinson Crusoe in a dilemmA 




Retbibftion ...... 

The furies of the andents not implacable — Modern examples of what 
seems retribution — The beautiful quadroon girl — Can dreams embody 
requitals? — What a French actress suffered — Annoyances continued 
throughout two years and a half — A dying threat apparently fulfilled — 
What an English officer suffered— Was. it retribution ? 



How Senator Linn's lif& was saved — ^Was it dairvoyanoe, or prescience ? 
Help amid the snow-drifts — ^Unexpected consolation — Caspar — The 
x^)«cted suitor — Is spiritual guardianship an. unholy or incredible 



BOOK at:. 



The CfLAKQ-B AT Death . . . • . u 

A theory must not involve absnrd resalts — Whence can the dead 
return ? — Character but slightly changed at death — Spiritual theory 
involves two postulates— Hades swept out along with purgatory. . How 
the matter stands historically — The Grecian Hades — The Jewish 
Sheol — What becomes of the soul immediately after death P — An 
abrupt metamorphosis ? — ^A final doom, or a state of progress ? — How 
human character is formed here — The postulates rational — What has 
resulted from discarding Hades — Enfeebling effect of distance — The 
loss of identity — The conception of two lives — Man cannot sympathise 
with that for which he is not prepared — The virtuous reasonably desire 
and expect another stage of action— Human instincts too little studied 
— ^Man's nature and lus situation — The Ideal — ^The utterings of the 
presa^ng voice — Man remains, after death, a human creature — Foot- 
fklls — ^A master-influence in another world — We are journeying towards 
a land of love and truth — What death is — ^What obtfuns the rites of 


CONCLTTSIOW ..••... 272 

Admissions demanded by reason — The invisible and inaudible world — We 
may expect outlines rather than filling up — Man's choice becomes his 
judge — Pneumatology of the Bible — More light hereafter. 
Afpsitdix — Note A. Circular of the Cambridge Ghost-Club . . 377 

Note B. Testimony : View taken by two opposing Schools . 380 
IsDXX ••••... 385 



Six months, elapsed since the date of pubKcation, permit an 
author to reconsider his work under the light of varied 
criticism, and to judge, in a measure, its effect on the 
public mind. 

Seeking to profit by such opportunity, and by the nume-^ 
reus private communications which have reached me, and 
are daily reaching me, in connection with the subject 
treated of in this volume, I find, so far, nothing but con- 
firmation and encouragement. The reception of the work, 
both as regards the number of copies sold, and the extent 
and character of the notices it has called forth, has greatly 
exceeded even an author's anticipations. 

I ascribe this gratifying result chiefly to the fact, that 
the classes of phenomena grouped together in the present 
volume are therein presented, not as beyond nature, but a» 
in harmony with it ; not as exceptions breaking in upon 
the uniformity of a great system, but as an integral «nd 
necessary portion of that system ; not, in fine, as violating 
or transcending the general laws which we see regulating 
the universe, but as occurring in strictest conformity with 
these laws ; albeit with a portion of them — ^the ultra-mun- 
dane-^which we have not been in the habit of studying, 
how eminently soever they may be deserving of careful 

Put forth as miracles, ultra-mxmdane phenomena are 
justly rejected as incredible; as inconsistent with the pro- 
gress of oiu: present knowledge, and at variance with the 

xii author's advertisement. 

teachings of modem science. But when presented as 
classes of natural occurrences — ^unexplained indeed, governed 
by laws yet unknown or obscurely discerned, but as surely 
embraced in the ordered economy of the world as the storm 
or the sunshine — the aspect of the question changes. The 
inquiry is Ho longer whether God, to meet a special emer- 
gency, suspends, from time to time, one or other of HSs 
laws, but only whether we have hitherto overlooked a por- 
tion of these laws; that portion which serves to connect 
the next phase of our existence with the present. 

To this mode of presenting the question, I believe my 
work to have been chiefly indebted for the prompt sale and 
the favourable reception with which it has met. 

But these are the lesser rewards. Tokens of sympathy 
and of gratitude contain the greater. A mother, deprived 
by death of her favourite child, and refusing to be comforted 
because he was not, confesses that she has been indebted to 
these pages for healthy and hopeftd views of death, reno- 
vated spirits, courage to labour and to wait. A sceptic, into 
whose hands the volume fell a few weeks before his decease, 
requests that, after he is gone, I may be informed that to 
this volume, and especially to its chapter on " The Change 
at Death," he owed the revolution of a life's opinions, and 
the first consolatory conviction which had ever reached 
him, that there was a fairer and a better world towards 
which he was fast hastening. 

These, and other similar testimonials, the true guerdon 
of authorship, cause me to rejoice that an English pub- 
lisher is about to re-issue my work. This edition has been 
revised by myself, and contains some emendations and 

R. D. 0, 

London, July^ 1860. 



It may interest the reader, before perusing this volume, to know some 
of the circumstances which preceded and produced it. 

The subjects of which it treats came originally under my notice in a 
land where, except to the privileged foreigner, such subjects are inter- 
dicted — at Naples, in the autumn of 1855. Up to that period I had 
regarded the whole as a delusion which no prejudice, indeed, would 
have prevented my examining with care, but in which, lacking such 
examination, I had no faith whatever. 

To an excellent friend and former colleague, the Viscount de St. 
Amaro, Brazilian Minister at Naples, I shaU ever remain debtor for 
having first won my serious attention to phenomena of a magneto- 
psychological character, and to the study of analogous subjects. It 
was in his apartments, on the 4th of March, 1856, and in presende of 
himself and his lady, together with a member of the royal family of 
Naples, that I witnessed for the first time, with mingled feelings of 
surprise and incredulity, certain physical movements apparently 
without material agency. Three weeks later, during an evening at the 
Bussian Minister's, an incident occurred, as we say, fortuitously, 
which, after the strictest scrutiny, I found myself unable to explain 
without referring it to some intelligent agency foreign to the spectators 
present — not one of whom, it may be added, knew or had practised 
anything connected with what is called Spiritualism or mediumship. 
From that day I determined to test the matter thoroughly. My 
public duties left me, in winter, few leisure hours, but many during 
the summer an4 autumn months; and that leisure, throughout more than 
two years, I devoted to an investigation (conducted partly by personal 


observations made in domestic privacy, partly by means of books) 
the ^eat question whether agencies from another phase of ezistenc^^ 
ever intervene here, and operate, for good or evil, on mankind. 

For a time the observations I made were similar to those whicJk 
during the last ten years so many thousands have instituted in our 
country and in Europe, and my readiiig was restricted to works for 
and against Animal Magnetism, and for and against the modem 
Spiritual theory. But, as the field opened before me, I found it expe- 
dient to enlarge my sphere of research — to consult the best professional 
works on Physiology, especially in its connection with mental phenomena, 
on Psychology in general, on Sleep, on Hallucination, on Insanity, on 
the great Mental Epidemics of Europe and America, together with trea- 
tises on the Imponderables — including Ileichenbach's curious observa- 
tions, and the records of interesting researches recently made in 
Prussia, in Italy, in England, and elsewhere, on the subject of Human 
Electricity in connection with its influence on the nervous system and 
the muscular tissues. 

I collected, too, the most noted old works containing narrative col- 
lections of apparitions, hauntings, presentiments, and the like, accom- 
panied by dissertations on the Invisible World, and toiled through 
formidable piles of chaff to reach a few gleatnings of sound grain. 

Gradually I became convinced that what by many have been re- 
garded as new and unexampled phenomena are but modem phases of 
what has ever existed. And I idtimately reached the conclusion that, 
in order to a proper understanding of much that has excited and per- 
plexed the public mind under the name of Spiritual Manifestations, 
historical research should precede every other inquiry — that we ought 
to look throughout the past for classes of phenomena, and seek to 
arrange these, each in its proper niche. 

I was finally satisfied, also, that it behoved the student in this field 
(in the first instance, at least), to devote his attention to spontaneous 
phenomena, rather than to those that are evoked — to appearances and 
disturbances that present themselves occasionally only, it is true, but 
neither sought nor looked for ; like the rainbow, or the aurora borealis, 
or the wind that bloweth where it listeth, uncontrolled by the wishes 
or the agency of man. By restricting the inquiry to these, all suspicion 
of being misled by epidemic excitement or expectant attention is com- 
pletely set aside. 

A record of such phenomena, carefully selected and authenticated, 


oonstitntes the staple of the present volume. In putting it forth, I am 
not to be held, any more than is the naturalist or the astronomer, to 
the imputation of tampering with holy things. As regards the special 
purpose of this work, no charge of necromantic efforts or unlawful 
seeking need be met, since it cannot possibly apply. The accusation, 
if any be brought, will be of a different character. If suspicion I incur, 
it will be not of sorcery, but of superstition— of an endeavour, perhttps, 
to revive popular delusions which the lights of modem science have 
Icmg since dispelled, or of stooping to put forth as grave relations of 
fact what are no better than idle nursery-tales. 

Accepting this issue, I am content to put myself on the country. I 
demand a fair trial before a jury who have not prejudged the cause. I 
ask for my witnesses a patient hearing, well assured that the final 
verdict, be it as it may, will be in accordance with reason and justice. 

I aspire not to build up a theory. I doubt, as to this subject, whe- 
ther any man living is yet prepared to do so. My less ambitious 
endeavour is to collect together solid, reliable building-stones which 
may serve some future architect. Already beyond middle age, it is 
not likely that I shall continue, here long enough to see the edifice 
erected. But others may. The race endures, though the individual 
pass to another stage of existence. 

If I did not esteem my subject one of vast importance, I should be 
unworthy to approach its treatment. Had I found other writers 
bestowing upon it the attention which that importance merits, I should 
have remained silent. As it is, I have felt, with a modern author, that 
" the withholding of large truths from the world may be a betrayal of 
the greatest trust." * 

I am conscious, on the other hand, that one is ever apt to over- 
estimate the importance of one's own labours. Yet even an effort such 
as t^is may suffice to give public opinion a true or a false direction. 
Great results are sometimes determined by humble agencies. '*A 
ridge-tile of a cottage in Derbyshire," says Gisbome, " decides 
whether the rain which falls from heaven shall be directed to the 
(German Ocean or the Atlantic." 

Let the reader, before he enters on the inquiry whether ultra- 
mundane interference be a great reality or a portentous delusion, 
permit me one additionfd remark. He will find that, in treating that 
hypothesis, I have left many things obscure and uninterpreted. Where 

♦ " Friends m Council," Art. Truth. 


no theory was clearly indicated, I preferred to state the facts and 
waive all explanation, having reached that period of life, when, if good 
use has been made of past years, one is not ashamed to say, '* I do not 
know," in any case in which that is the simple truth. We do well, 
however, to bear in mind that a difficulty unsolved does not amount 
to an argument in opposition.* 

To the many friends whose kindness has aided my undertaking, these 
pages owe their chief value. To some therein named I am enabled 
here to tender my grateful acknowledgments. To others who have 
assisted in private I am not less deeply indebted. 

I doubt not that if I were to delay the {)ublication of this book for 
some years, I should find much to modify, something to retract. But 
if, in this world, we postpone our work till we deem it perfect, death 
comes upon us in our hesitation, and we efifect nothing, from bootless 
anxiety to effect too much. 

E. D. O. 

* " Where we cannot answer all objections, we are bound, in reason and 
in candour, to adopt the hypothesis which labours under the least." — Ele' 
nients of LogiCy by Archbishop Whately. 

" That is accounted probable which has better argument producible for it 
than can be brought against it." — South, 


Aberorombie* Intellectual Powers. 

Abrant^s, M^mobres de Madame la Ducheise de, Merits par elle-mSine, Paris, 

Aooount of tbe French Prophets and theur Pretended Inspirations, London, 

Alexander ab Alexandre ; abont 1450. 
Arago. Biographie de Jean-Sylvain Bailly, Paris, 1853. 
Aristotle. De Divinatione et Somniis. 
Aubrey's Miscellanies. 

Babbage. Ninth Bridgewater Treatise, London, 1838. 

Bacon's Essays, London, 1597. 

Bullarger. Des Hallncinations. 

Bailly. Beport on Mesmerism, made to the King of France, August 11, 1784. 

Baxter. The Certainty of the World of Spirits, London, 1691. 

Beaumont. An Historical, Physiological, and Theological Treatise of Spirits, 

London, 1705. 
Beecher, Bev. Charles. Review of Spiritual Manifestations. 
Bennett^ Professor. The Mesmeric Mania, Edinburgh, 1851. 
Bertrand. Traits du Somnambulisme, Paris, 1823. 
Bichat. B^herdies Physiologiques sur la Vie et la Mort, Paris, 1805. 
Binns, Edward, M.D. The Anatomy of Sleep, 2nd ed., London, 1845. 
Blackstone's Commentaries. 
Boismont, De. Des HallucSnations, Paris, 1852. 
Bovet. The Devil's Cbyster, 1684. 

Braid, James. Neurypnology, or the Rationale of Sleep, London, 1843. 
Brewster, Sir David. The Martyrs of Science, London, 1856. 
Brodie, Sir B. Psychological Inquiries, 3rd ed., London, 1856. 
Browne, Sir Thomas. Works. 
Burdaeh. Traits de Phyraolo^e, Paris, 1839. 
Bushnell, Horace. Nature and the Supernatural, New York, 1858. 
Butler's Analogy of BeUgion to the Constitution and Course of Nature. 

Calmeil. De k Foli^ Pari^ 1845. 

Gapron. Modem Spiritualism, Boston, 1853. 

Oarlyon, Clement, M.D. Early Tears and Late Reflections. 

Carpenter, Wimam B., M.D. Principles of Human Physiol(^, 5th ed., 

Causes C^bres. 

Chakaienf» Svidenees of the Christian Religion. 
Chaucer's Tale of the Chanon Teman. 



ChristmaSy Eev. Henrj. Cradle of the Twin Giants, Science and History, 

London, 1849. 
Cicero de Divinatione. 

de Naturft Deomm. 
Clairon, M^moires de Mademoiselle, Actrice du Th&tre Frangus, ^rits par 

elle-mSme. Paris, 1822. 
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Court, M. Histoire des Trouhles des Ccvennes, Alais, 1819. 
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•* As I did ever hold, there monght be as great a vanitie in retiring and 
withdrawing men's conceites (except they bee of some nature) firom the 
world as in obtruding them ; so, in these particulars, I have played myself 
the Inquisitor, and find nothing to my understanding in them contrarie or 
infectious to the state of BeUgion or manners, but rather, as I suppose, 
medecinable." — ^Bacon : Dedication to Essmfs, 1597. 

IN an age so essentially utilitarian as the present, no inquiry 
is likely to engage the permanent attention of the public, 
unless it be practical in its bearings. 

Even then, if the course of such inquiry lead to the exa- 
mination of extraordinary phenomena, it wiU be found that 
evidence the most direct, apparently sufficiug to prove the 
reality of these, will usually leave the minds of men incredu- 
^lous, or in doubt, if the appearances be of isolated character, 
devoid of authentic precedent in the past, and incapable of 
classification, in the proper niche, among analogous residts ; 
much more, in case they involve a suspension of the laws of 

If I entertain a hope of winning the public ear, while I 
broach, broadly and frankly, the question whether occasional 
interferences from another world in this be reality or delusion, 
it is, first, because I feel confident in being able to show that 
the inquiry is of a practical nature ; and, secondly, because 
the phenomena which I purpose to examine in connection 


with it are not of isolated, still less of miraciJous, character. 
In the etymological sense of the term, they are not unlikely, 
there being many of their like to be found adequately attested 
throughout history. They appear in groups, and lend them- 
selves, like all other natural phenomena, to classification. 

Extraordinary, even astounding, they will usually be con- 
sidered ; and that, not so much because they are really uncom- 
mon, as because they have been, in a measure, kept out of 
sight. And this agam arises, in part, because few dispassion- 
ate observers have patiently examined them ; in part, because 
prejudice, which discredits them, has prevented thousands to 
whom they have presented themselves from bearing public or 
even private testimony to what they have witnessed ; in part, 
again, because, although these phenomena are by no means of 
modem origin, or determined by laws but recently operative, 
they appear to have much increased in frequency and variety, 
ancl to have reached a new stage of development, in the last 
few years ; and finally, because they are such as readily stir 
up in weak minds blind credulity or superstitious terror, the 
prolific sources of extravagance and exaggeration. Thus the 
intelligent conceal and the ignorant mis-state them. 

This condition of things complicates the subject, and much 
increases the difficulty of treating it. 

Again : though no article of human faith is better founded 
than the belief in the idtimate prevalence of truth, yet, into 
every thing relating to earthly progress, time enters as an 
essential element. The fruit drops not till it has ripened : if 
nipped by early blight, or plucked by premature hand, it is 
imperfect and worthless. And the world of mind, like that 
of physical nature, has its seasons ; its spring, when the sap 
rises and the buds swell ; its sunmier, of opened flower and 
blossom ; its autumn, of yellow grain. We must not expect 
to reap, in any field, until harvest-time. 

Yet, how gradual soever time's innovations and the cor- 
responding progress of the human mind, there are certain 
epochs at which, by what our short sight calls chance, particu- 
lar subjects spring forth into notice, as it were, by a sudden 
impulse, attracting general attention, and thus predisposing 
men's minds to engage in their investigation. At such 
epochs, words that at other times woidd fall unheeded may 
smk deep and bear good fruit. 

It seldom happens, however, at the first outbreak of any 
great excitement, when some strange novelty seems bursting 
oa the worlds that the minds of men^ whether of supporters 


or of opponents, maintain due moderation, either in assent or 
in denial. The hasty ardour of new-bom zea\ and the sense, 
quick to offence when first impinged upon, of prejudice long 
dominant, alike indispose to cabn inquiry, are alike unfavour- 
able to critical judgment. 

And thus, at the present day, perhaps, (when the din of 
the earKest onset has subsided, and the still small voice can 
be heard,) rather than at any period of the last ten years, 
during which our country has witnessed the rise and progress 
of what may be called a revival of Pneumatology, may the 
subject be discussed with less of passion, and received with 
diminished prejudice. And if a writer, in treating of it at 
this juncture, escape some of those shoals upon which earlier 
inquirers have stranded, it may be due as much to a happy 
selection of time, as to any especial merit or superior discern- 

Then, too, as to the great question of which I purpose to 
examine the probabilities, recent events have not only enlisted 
the attention of the audience : they have also, in a measure, 
opened way for the speaker. The strictness of the taboo is 
relaxed. And this was greatly to be desired. For the in- 
quiry touching the probability of ultra-mundane intervention 
— ^though it cannot be said to have been lost sight of at any 
moment since the dawn of civilization, though Scripture 
affirm it as to former ages, and though, throughout later 
times, often in various superstitious shapes, it has challenged 
the terrors of the ignorant — ^had seemed, for a century past, 
to be gradually losing credit and reputable standing, and to 
be doomed to exclusion from respectable society or philosophi- 
cal circles. Able men cared not to jeopard a reputation for 
common sense by meddling with it at all. 

With honourable exceptions, however. Of these I have 
met with none so original in thought, so philosophic in spirit, 
as Isaac Taylor. Yet he has treated, with a master's hand, 
one branch only of the subject — ^the analogical.* 

Another portion of this field of research has been partially 
occupied, from time to time, by a class of writers, often Ger- 
man, usually set down as superstitious dreamers ; of which 
Jung Stilling, perhaps, is one of the fairest examples.f Pious, 

♦ «« Physical Theory of Another Life," by the Author of the "Natural His- 
tory of Enthuaaasm," (Isaac Taylor,) 1 vol. 12mo., pp. 336. London. 1839. 

t "Theorie der Geisterkunde," ("Theory of Spiritualism," or, literally, of 
B|nrit-Eiiowledge,) by Jung Stilling, originally published in 1809. Johann 
B^nw(<i^ Jung, better known by his adjunct name of 'Stilling, bom in the 

B 2 


earnest, able, of a probity beyond suspicion, but somewhat 
mystical withal, the Aulic Councillor of Baden sought proofs 
of his speculations in alleged actual occurrences, (as appari- 
tions, house-hauntings, and the like,) the records of which he 
adopted, and thereupon erected his spirit-theory with a facility 
of belief for which the apparent evidence seems, in many of 
the examples cited, to be insuflScient warrant. In our day 
others have pursued a similar line of argument; in one 
instance, at least, if sixteen editions in six years may vouch for 
the fact, attracting the sympathy of the pubKc* 

It may be conceded, however, that these narratives have 
commonly been read rather to amuse an idle hour than for 

Duchy of Nassau in 1740, rose from poverty and the humblest position to be, 
first, Professor of Political Economy at Heidelberg, and afterwards a member 
of the Aulic Council of the Grand Duke of Baden. 

Jacob Bohme is by some exalted to the highest rank among pneumatolo- 
gists ; but I confess to inability to discover much that is practical, or even 
intelligible, in the mystical effusions of the worthy shoemaker of GrorUtz. The 
£Eiult, however, may be in myself; for, as some one has said, " He is ever the 
mystic who Uves in the world furthest removed from our own." 

Swodenborg, the great spiritualist of the eighteenth century, is a writer as 
to whose voluminous works it would be presumptuous to. offer an opinion 
without a careful study of them ; and that I have not yet been able to give. 
This, however, one may safely assert, that whatever judgment we may pass 
on what the Swedish seer caUs his spiritual experience, and how little soever 
we may be prepared to subscribe to the exclusive claims unwisely set up for 
him by some of his disciples, an eminent spirit and power speak from his 
vrritings, which, even at a superficial glance, must arrest the attention of the 
right-minded. His idea of Degrees and Progression, reaching from earth to 
heaven ; his doctrine of Uses, equally removed from ascetical dreamery and 
from Utilitarianism in its hard modem sense ; his allegation of Influx, or, in 
other words, of constant influence exerted from the spiritual world on the 
material ; even his strange theory of Correspondences ; but, last and chief, 
his glowing appreciation of that principle of Love which is the fulfilling of the 
Law ; these and other kindred characteristics of the Swedenborgian system 
are of too deep and genuine import to be lightly passed by. To claim for 
them nothing more, they are at least marvellously suggestive, and therefore 
highly valuable. 

For the rest, one may appreciate Swedenborg outside of Swedenbor- 
gianism. " For ourselves," said Margaret Fuller, " it is not as a seer of 
Ghosts, but as a seer of Truths, that Swedenborg interests us." 

* "Night Side of Nature," by Catherine Crowe (London,! vol. 12mo. pp. 
502.) The work, originally published in 1848, reached its sixteenth thousand 
in 1854. In common with the older narrative collections of Glanvil, Mather, 
Baxter, Beaumont, Sinclair, De Foe, and others of similar stamp, it is ob- 
noxious to the same criticism as that of Stilling ; yet any one who feels dis- 
posed to cast the volume aside as a mere idle trumping-up of ghost-stories 
might do well first to read its Introduction, and its Tenth Chapter on '•'the 
Future that awaits us." 

A recent volume by the same author (" Ghosts and Family Legends," 
1859) makes no pretension to authenticity, nor to any higher purpose than 
to help while away a winter evening. 


graver purpose. They have often excited wonder, seldom 
produced conviction. But this, as I think, is due, not to 
actual insufficiency in this field, but rather, first, to an unphi- 
losophical manner of presenting the subject— a talking of 
wonders and miracles, when there was question only of natu- 
ral, even if ultra-mundane, phenomena ; and, secondly, to an 
indiscriminate mixing-up of the reliable with the apocryphal, 
to lack of judgment in selection and of industry in verifica- 
tion. I have not scrupled freely to cull from this depart- 
ment ; seeking, however, to separate the wheat from the chafl*, 
and content, in so doing, even if the available material that 
remains shall have shnmk to somewhat petty dimensions. 

Essentially connected with this inquiry, and to be studied 
by all who engage therein, are the phenomena embraced in 
what is usually called Animal Magnetism. First showing 
itself in France, three-quarters of a century ago, its progress 
arrested at the outset, when its claims were vague, and its 
chief phenomena as yet unobserved, by the celebrated report 
of Ballly,* often falling into the hands of untrained and 

* Made to the King of France on the 13 th of August, 1784. It was signed, 
among other members of the commission, by Franklin and Lavoisier. 

It should especially be borne in mind that, while the commissioners, in 
that report, speak in strong terms against the • magnetism of 1784, with its 
haquets, its crises, and its convnlsions — against Mesmer's theory, too, of a 
univerEol fluid with flux and reflux, the medium of influence by the celestial 
bodies on the human system, and a universal curative agent — they express 
no opinion whatever, favourable or unfavourable, in regard to somnambulism 
properly so called. It is usually admitted that somnambulism, with its 
attendsoit phenomena, in the form now known to us, was observed, for the 
first time, by the Marquis de Puys^gur, on his estate of Buzancy, near Sois- 
Bons, on the 4th of March, 1784 j but Puys^gur made public his observations 
only at the close of that year, four months after the commissioners' report 
was made. BaiUy and his associates, learned and candid as they were, must 
'not be cited as condemning that which they had never seen nor heard of. 
To this &ct Arago, a man who rose superior to the common prejudices of hi:i 
associates, honestly testifies. I translate from his notice of the life and 
career of the unfortunate Bailly, published in the " Annuaire du Bureau des 
Longitudes" for 1853. " The report of Bailly," says he, " upset from their 
foundations the ideas, the system, the practice, of Mesmer and his disciples :" 
let hb add, in all sincerity, that we have no right to evoke its authority 
agamst modem sonmambuUsm, Most of the phenomena now grouped around 
that name were neither known nor announced in 1783. A magnetizer un- 
doubtedly says one of the least probable things in the world, when he tells us 
that such an individual, in a state of somnambulism, can see everything in 
perfect darkness, or read through a wall, or even without the aid of the eyes. 
But the improbability of such assertions does not result from the celebrated 
report. BaiUj does not notice such marvels, either to assert or to deny 
them. The naturalist, the physician, or the mere curious investigator^ ytVv.^ 
engages in somnambulic experiments, who thinks it his dn.t^ to mcs^ixa^ 
whetiber, in oertain aiatea of nervous excitement, ixidiYiOLTxa\.'& ox^ x^'^^ 


superficial observers, sometimes of arrant charlatans, its pre- 
tensions extravagantly stated by some and arrogantly denied 
by others, Animal Magnetism has won its way through the 
errors of its friends and the denunciations of its enemies, and 
(what is harder yet to combat) through frequent mystifica- 
tions by impostors and occasional gross abuse of its powers, 
to the notice and the researches of men of unquestioned talent 
and standing — among them, eminent members of the medical 
profession — ^and has at last obtained a modest place eVen in 
accredited and popular treatises on physiological science.* 

The alleged proofs and analogical argimients above alluded 
to in favour of ultra-mundane intercourse, together with such 
corroboration as the phenomena of somnambulism afford, were 
all given to the world previous to the time when, in the 
obscure village of Hydesville, a young girl,t responding to 

endowed with extraordinary facnlties — ^that, for instance, of reading through the 
epigastrium or the heel — who desires to ascertain positively up to what point 
the phenomena announced with so much assurance by modem magnetizers 
belong only to the domain of the rogue or the conjuror — all such inquirers, 
we say, are not in this case running counter to a judgment rendered ; they 
are not really opposing themselves to a Lavoisier, a Franklin, a Bailly. They 
are entering upon a world entirely new, the very existence of which these 
illustrious sages did not suspect." — (pp. 444 — 45.) 

A little further on in the same article, Arago adds, " My object has been 
to show that somnambulism bught not to be rejected a prioriy especially by 
those who have kept up with the progress of modem physical science." And, 
in reproof of that presumption which so often denies without examining, 
he quotes these excellent hues, which, ho says, the truly learned ought to 
bear constantly in mind ; — 

" Croire tout decouvert est une erreur profonde ; 
C'est prendre I'horizon pour les homes du monde." 

• An example may be found in " Principles ef Human Physiology," by 
William B. Carpenter, M.D., F.R.S. and F.G.S., 5th edition, London, 1855, 
§ 696 (at pages 647 et seq.,) under the head *' Mesmerism." Dr. Carpenter 
discredits the higher phenomena of Clairvoyance, but admits, 1st. A state 
of complete insensibility, during which severe surgical operations may be 
performed without the consciousness of the patient. 2nd. Artificial somnam- 
bulism, with manifestation of the ordinary power of mind, but no recollec- 
tion, in the waking state, of what has passed. 3rd. Exaltation of the senses 
during such somnambulism, so that the somnambule perceives what in his 
natural condition he could not. 4th. Action, during such somnambulism, on 
the muscular apparatus, so as to produce, for example, artificial catalepsy ; 
and, 5th. Perhaps curative eflfects. 

Dr. Carpenter says his mind is made up as to the reality of these pheno- 
mena, and that " he does not see why any discredit should attach to them." 
(Note at page 649.) 

The character and standing of this gentleman's numerous works on phy- 
siology and medical science are too widely known to need indorsement. 

t Kate, youngest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John D. Fox, and then aged 
I mae. It was on the night of the 31st of March, 1848. This was, however. 


the persistent knockmgs which for several nights had broken 
the rest of her mother and sisters, chanced upon the disco- 
very that these sounds seemed to exhibit characteristics of 

From that day a new and important phase has offered itself 
to the attention of the student in pneimiatology, and with it 
a new duty ; that of determining the true character of what 
is sometimes termed the American Epidemic, more wonderful 
ia its manifestations, far wider spread in its range, than any 
of the mental epidemics, marvdlous in their phenomena as 
some of them have been, recorded by physicians and psycho- 
logists of continental Europe. 

From that day, too, there gradually emerged into notice a 
new department in the science of the soul — ^the positive and 
experimental. Until now the greater niunber of accredited 
works on psychology or pneumatology have been made up 
exclusively of spectdations drawn either from analogy or from 
history, sacred or profane-eminent sources, yet not the only 
ones. No such work ought now to be regarded as complete 
without an examination of phenomena as well as a citation of 
authorities. And thus, though a portion of the present 
volume consists of historical recallings, since the wonders of 
the present can seldom be fitly judged without the aid of the 
past, another and larger portion embraces narratives of 
modem date, phenomena of comparatively recent occur- 
rence, the evidence for which . has been collected with the 
same care with which a member of the legal profession is 
wont to examine his witnesses and prepare his case for trial. 

In perusing a work of this character, the reader will do well 
to bear in mind that phenomena exist independently of all 
opinions touching their nature or origin. A fact is not to be 
Slighted or disbelieved because a false theory may have been 
put forth to explain it. It has its importance, if it be im- 
portant at all, irrespective of all theories. 

And if it should be alleged, as to this class of facts, that 
they have no intrinsic importance, the reply is, first, that 
although the present age, as at the outset I have admitted, be 
a utilitarian one — ^though it seek the positive and hold to the 
practical — ^yet the positive and the practical may be under- 
stood in a sense falsely restrictive. Man does not live 

as wfll be seen in the sequel, by no means the first time that the observation 
had been made that similar sounds showed appearance of intelligence. 

For the partioolars of the Hjdesville story, see tlii© "Vast "Siarre.^V?T^ yd. 


by bread alone. He lives to develop and to improve, as 
much as to exist. And development and improvement are 
things as real as existence itself. That which brings home 
to our consciousness noble ideas, refined enjoyment, that 
which bears good fruit in the mind, even though we 
perceive it not with our eyes nor touch it with our hands, 
is something else than an idle dream. The poetry of Hfe is 
more than a metaphor. Sentiment is linked to action. Nor 
is the world, with all its hard materialism, dead to these 
truths. There is a comer, even in our work-a-day souls, 
where the ideal lurks, and whence it may be called forth, to 
become, not a mere barren fancy, but the prolific parent of 
progress. And from time to time it is thus called forth, to 
ennoble and to elevate. It is not the enthusiast only who 
aspires. What is civilization but a realization of human aspi- 
rations ? 

Yet I rest not the case here, in generalities. When I am 
told that studies such as form the basis of this work are 
curious only, and speculative in their character, leading to 
nothing of solid value, and therefore ULnworthy to engage the 
serious attention of a business world, my further reply is, that 
such allegation is a virtual begging of the very question 
which in this volimie I propose to discuss. It is an assuming 
of the negative in advance ; it is a taking for granted that 
the phenomena in question cannot possibly establish the reality 
of ultra-mundane intorference. 

For, if they do, he must be a hardy or a reckless man who 
shall ask, "Where is the good ?" This is not our abiding- 
place ; and though, during our tenancy of sixty or seventy 
years, it behove us to task our best energies in the cause of 
earthly improvement and happiness — though it be our 
bouLuden duty, while here, to care, in a measure, for the 
worldly welfare of all, more especially for the wants and 
comforts of our own domestic hearth — and though, as human 
workers, much the larger portion of our thoughts and time 
must be, or ought to be, thus employed — ^yet, u our perma- 
nent dwelling-place is soon to be established elsewhere ; if , as 
the years pass, our affections are stealing thither before us ; 
if the home-circle, gradually dissolving here, is to be recon- 
stituted, fresh and enduring, in other regions,* shall we hold 

* ** We start in life an nnbroken company : brothers and sisters, friends 
and lovers, neighbonrs and comrades, are with us : there is circle within 
circle, and each one of ns is at the charmed centre, where the heart's 
aflbctions are aglow, and whence they radiate ontward on society. Youth is 


it to be matter of mere idle curiosity, fantastic and indif- 
ferent, to ascertain, whether, in sober truth, an intimation 
from that fiiture home is ever permitted to reach us, here on 
our pilgrimage, before we depart ? 

We cannot curtly settle this question, as some assume to do, 
by an a priori argument against the possibility of human 
intercourse with the denizens of another world. Especially 
is the Bible Christian barred from employing any such. That 
which has been may be.* The Scriptures teach that such 
intercourse did exist in earlier days ; and they nowhere declare 
that it was thenceforth to cease fi)r ever. 

And when, in advance of any careful examination of this 
question, we decide that, in our day at least, no such inter- 
vention is possible, it might be well that we consider whether 
our Sadduceeism go not further than we think for ; whether, 
without our couBciousness perhaps, it strike not deeper than 
mere disbelief in modem spiritual agencies. Let us look to 
it, that, in slightingly discarding what it is the fashion to 
regard as superstition, we may not be virtually disallowing 
also an essential of faith, f Does the present existence of 
another world come home to us as a living truth ? Do we 
verily believe that beings of another sphere are aroimd us, 

exuberant vrith joy and hope ; the earth looks &ir, for it sparkles with May- 
dews wet, and no shadow hath fiedlen upon it. We are all here, and we 
oofold live here fbr ever. The home-centre is on the hither side of the river ; 
and why shonld we strain our eyes to look beyond ? Bnt this state of things 
does not continne long. Our circle grows less and less. It is broken and 
broken, and then closed np again ; bat every break and close make it 
narrower and smaller. Perhaps before the son is at his meridian the 
majority are on the other side ; the circle there is as large as the one here ; 
and we are drawn contrariwise and vibrate between the two. A little 
kmger, and almost all have crossed over ; the balance settles down on the 
Bpiritnal side, and the home-centre is removed to the upper sphere. At 
length yon see nothing bnt an aged pilgrim standing alone on the river's 
bank, and looking earnestly towards the country on the other side." — Fore- 
gleams of Immortailityy by Edmnnd H. Sears, 4th ed., Boston, 1858 : chap. 
xri, «Home,"p. 136. 

• " Why come not spirits from the realms of glory, 
To visit earth, as in the days of old, — 
The times of ancient writ and sacred story ? 

Is heaven more distant ? or has earth grown cold ? . . . 

'* To Bethlehem's air was their last anthem given, 
When other stars before the One grew dim ? 
Was their last presence known in Peter's prison, 
0* where exulting martyrs raised the hymn ?" 

Julia Wallice. 

t Whence do such able reasoners as Dr. Strauss derive tYieVr mosfc eSvcHfinoit 
weapons in the asranli; upon exiBtmg faith ? From tke modeni i^c^^xi q»^ 

10 HADES. 

watching, caring, loving ? Is it with our hearts, or with our 
lips only, that we assent, if indeed we do assent,* to the doc- 
trine contained in Milton's lines ? — 

" Millions of spiritual creatures walk the earth, 
Unseen, both when we wake and when we sleep." 

If all this be more to us than mere idle sound, with what 
show of reason can we take it for granted, as a point settled 
prior to all discussion of it, that intercourse with another 
world is no longer vouchsafed to us in this ? 

AH reasoning a priori, if resorted to at aU, teUs in favour 
of such intervention. One of the strongest natural arguments 
in proof of the soul's immortality has ever been held to be the 
universality of man's belief in an after-life ; a sentiment so 
common to all ages and nations that it may claim the cha- 
racter of an instinct, t But the belief in the occasional ap- 

denying all ultra-mundane intrusion. That which we reject as incredible if 
alleged to have happened to-day, by what process does it become credible by 
being moved back two thousand years into the past ? 

**The totahty of finite things," says Strauss, "forms a vast circle, which, 
except that it owes its existence and laws to a superior power, suffers no 
intrusion from without. This conviction is so much a habit of thought 
with the modem world, that in actual life the belief in a supernatural 
manifestation, an immediate divine agency, is at once attributed to igno- 
rance or imposture." — Life of Jesus, vol. i. p. 71. 

♦ " Men have ever been familiar with the idea that the spirit does not 
rest with the body in the grave, but passes at once into new conditions ot 
being. The opinion has gained adherents, and disputes the ground with 
the more material one, tb^t it rests in sleep with the body, to await one 
common day of awakening and judgment ; and so confused are the common 
impressions on the subject that you may hear a clergyman, in his funeral 
sermon, deliberately giving expression to both in one discourse, and telling 
you, in the same breath, that my lady lately deceased is a patient inhabit- 
ant of the tomb, and a member of the angelic company. But the idea ot 
xminterrupted life has so strong a hold on the affections, which cannot bear 
the idea of even the temporary extinction of that which they cling to, that 
it has the instinctive adherence of ahnost every one who has felt deeply 
and stood foce to face with death." — (London) National Review for July, 
1858, p. 32. 

The question of a mediate- state of existence commencing at the moment 
of death, the Hades alike of the ancients and of early Christianity, will be 
touched upon later in this volume. 

There are those who admit the objective reality of apparitions, yet, deny- 
ing the eidstence of any mediate state after death, adopt the theory that it 
is angels of an inferior rank created such, who, for good purpose, occasion- 
ally personate deceased persons, and that the departed never return. This 
is De Foe's hypothesis, and is ably advocated by him in his " Universal His- 
tory of Apparitions," London, 1727. 

The broawi question is, whether " spiritual creatures," be they angels or 
departed souls, are present around us. 

f The best analogical argument which I remember to have met with in 
ft»Tour of the immortality of the soul is contained in Isaac Taylor's work 


pearance, or influence on human afiairs, of disembodied 
spirits,* is scarcely less general or less instinctive : though it 
is to be admitted that in the Dark Ages it commonly degene- 
rated into demonology.f The principle, however, may be 
true and the form erroneous ; a contingency of constant recur- 
rence throughout the history of the human mind, as when 
religion, for example, assumed and maintained for ages the 
pagan form. 

The matter at issue, then, must be grappled with more 
closely. We have no right to regard it as a closed question, 
bluffly to reject it as involving incredible assumptions, or to 
dismiss it with foregone conclusions under terms of general 
denial. J It is neither logical nor becoming for men to de- 

already referred to, the " Physical Theory of Another Life," at pp. 64 to 69. 
This argmnent froni analogy mnst, I think, be regarded as much more 
forcible than the abstract logic by which the ancient philosophers sought to 
establish the truth in question. When Cicero, following Socrates and 
Plato, says of the soul, "Nee discerpi, neo distrahi potest, nee igitur in- 
terire," the ingenuity of the reasoning is more apparent than its con- 

* Disemhodiedf disconnected from this natural body ; not wnemhodied ; for 
I by no means impugn the hypothesis of a spiritual body, 1 Cor. zv. 44. 

•f " To deny the possibility, nay, actual existence, of witchcraft and sor- 
cery, is at once flatly to contradict the revealed word of God, in various 
passages both of the Old and New Testament ; and the thing itself is a truth 
to which every nation in the world hath, in its turn, borne testimony, either 
by examples seemingly well attested, or by prohibitory laws, which at least 
suppose the possibility of commerce with evil spirits." — Blackstone's Com- 
mentaHeSf b. iv., c. 4, § 6. 

I adduce the above from so distinguished a source on account of its bear- 
ings on the universality of man's belief in ulCra-mundane intercourse, and to 
rebut a presumption against that intercourse, now in vogue ; not as proof of 
the reality of such intercourse. 

X It nmy not be amiss here to remind the reader that by such men as 
Johnson and Byron the universal belief of man in intercourse with the 
spirits of the departed was regarded as probable proof of its occasional 
reality. It will be remembered that the former, in his " Basselas," puts 
into the mouth of the sage Imlac this sentiment : — " That the dead are seen 
no more I will not undertake to maintain against the concurrent testimony 
of all ages and all nations. There is no people, rude or unlearned, among 
whom apparitions of the dead are not related and believed. This opinion, . 
which pTevails as &r as human nature is difiused, could become universal 
only by its truth : those that never heard of one another would not have 
agreed in a tale which nothing but experience could make credible. That 
it is doubted by single cavillers can very little weaken the general evidence ; 
and some who deny it with their tongues confess it with their fears." 

To this passage Byron alludes in the following : — 

" I merety mean to say what Johnson said. 

That, in the course of some six thousand years, 
AH nations have believed that from the dead. 
A visitant at intervals appears. ^ 


cide, in advance of investigation, that it is contrary to the 
Divine economy that there should be ultra-mundane inter- 
ference. It is our business to examine the Creator's works, 
and thence, if needs we must, to derive conclusions as to His 
intentions. It is our province to seek out and establish facts, 
and then to build upon them ; not to erect on the sand of 
preconception hazarded theories of our own, which science, in 
her onward march, may assault and overthrow, as did the 
system of GaHleo tiie theology of the Roman inquisitors.* 

*' And what is strangest upon this strange head, 
Is, that, whatever bar the reason rears 
'G^ainst sneh belief, there's something stronger still 
In its behalf, let those deny who will." 

Addison's opinion on the same subject is well known. It is contained in 
one of the numbers of " The Spectator," ascertained to be from his pen, — 
namely, No. 110, published Friday, July 6, 1711, — ^and is in these words : — 

" I think a person who is thus terrified with the imagination of ghosts 
and spectres much more reasonable than one who, contrary to the reports of 
fJl historians, sacred and pro&ne, ancient and modem, and to the traditions 
r)f all nations, thinks the appearance of spirits &bnlous and groundless. 
Could not I give myself up to this general testimony of mankind, I should to 
the relations of particular persons who are now living, and whom I cannot 
distrust in other matters of fact." 

Another distinguished contributor to ''The Spectator" seems to have 
shared the same opinion. The author of *' A Treatise on Seoond-Sight, 
Dreams, and Apparitions," a Highland clergyman, I believe, named Macleod, 
but writing under the signature of Theophtlus Insularms, says — 

" What made me inquire more narrowly into the subject, was in conse- 
quence of a conversation I had with Sir Bichard Steele, who engaged me to 
searcH for instances of it well attested." — Treatise em Second-Sight^ ^c, 
Edinburgh, 1763, pp. 97. 

♦ Taylor has a passage on this, subject well deserving our notice. Sx)eak- 
ing of the beUef in " occasional interferences of the dead with the living," 
which, he says, *' ought not to be summarily dismissed as a mere folly of the 
vulgar," he adds : — 

" In considering questions of this sort, we ought not to listen, for a 
moment, to those frequent but impertinent questions that are brought for- 
ward with a view of superseding the inquiry ; such, for example, as these : 
— * What good is answered by the alleged estra-natural occurrences ?' or, 
* Is it worthy of the Supreme Wisdom to permit them V and so forth. The 
question is a question, first, of testimony, to be judged of on the established 
principles of evidence, and then of 'ph/ysiology ; but neither of theology 
nor of morals. Some few human beings are wont to walk in their sleep ; 
and during the continuance of profound slumber they perform, with pre- 
cision and safety, the offices of common life, and return to their beds, and 
yet are totally unconscious when they awake of what they have done. 
Now, in considering this or any such extraordinary class of facts, our busi- 
ness is, in the first place, to obtain a number of instances supported by the 
distinct and unimpeachaUe testimony of intelligent witnesses ; and then, 
being thus in possession of the &cts, to adjust them, as well as we can, to 
other parts of our philosophy of human nature. Shall we allow an objector 
to put a (^eck to our scientific curiosity on the subject, for instance of som- 
nambulism, by saying, ' Scores of thcMae aooounts have turned out to be 

A REACnON. 13 

As Kttle defensible is it, in case we should happen in search 
of its proofs to come upon the testimony of the humble and the 
unlettered, that we refiise audience to any weU-attested fact 
because we may not consider its origin sufficiently reputable. 
We naay learn from all classes. We shall find truth in every 
rank. Things that escape the reputed wise and prudent 
may be perceived by those who in technical knowledge are 
but children in comparison. Mere learning does not always 
enlighten : it may but distort and obscure. That is a shrewd 
touch of satire, often applicable in practical life, which Goethe 
puts in the mouth of him of the Iron Hand, stout " Gotz 
of Berlichingen." When his little son, after repeating his 
well-conned lesson in geography about the village and castle 
of Jaxthausen, — ^the BerKchingen family-seat, on the banks 
of the river Jaxt, — could not reply to his parent's question as 
to what castle he was talking about, the old warrior exclaims, 
"Poor child! he knows not, for very learning, his own 
fether's house !" 

The majority of educated men set aside, with little thought 
or scruple, all stories of haunted houses, all narratives of 
apparitions, all allegations touching prophetic or clear-sighted 
dreams, and similar pretensions, as the ignoble ofi&hoots of 
vulgar superstition. Y et there has been of late a reaction in 
this matter. Here and there we come upon indications 
of this. 'It is within my knowledge, that a few years since, 
at one of the chief English universities, a society was formed 
out of some of its most distinguished members, for the 
purpose of instituting, as their printed circular expresses it, 
" a serious and earnest inquiry into the nature of the pheno- 
mena which are vaguely called supernatural.*' They sub- 
jected these to careral classification, and appealed to their 
friends outside of the society to aid them in forming an ex- 
tensive collection of authenticated cases, as well of remarkable 
dreams as of apparitions, whether of persons living or of the 
deceased; the use to be made of these to be a subject for 
fiiture consideration.* 

exaggerated or totally untrue,' or, * This waUdng in the sleep ought not to 
be thought possible, or as likely to be permitted by the Benevolent Guardian 
of human welfiure* ?" — Physical Theory of Another Life^ p. 27. 

• The society referred to was formed in the latter part of the year 1851, 
at Cambridge, by certain members of the University, some of them now at 
the^head of well-known institutions, most of them clergymen and Fellows 
of Trinity College, and aJmost all of them men who had graduated with the 
highest honours. The names of the more active among them were kindly 
furnished to me by the son of a British peer,himBelf one o^ t\iQ\QAdASi^TCkSSQ\r 


It is to be conceded, however, that examples such as these, 
significant though they be, are but exceptions. The rule is 
to treat all alleged evidences for dream-revealings, or for the 
objective character of apparitions, or for the reality of those 
disturbances that go by the name of hauntings, as due either 
to accidental coincidence, to disease, to delusion, or to wilful 
deception. One of the objects of the present volimie is to 
inquire whether in so doing we are overlooking any actual 

Beyond this, upon a cognate subject, I do not propose to 
enter. I am not, in this work, about to investigate what 
goes by the name of spiritual manifestations — such as table- 
moving, rapping, mediumship, and the like. As the geologist 
prefers first to mspect the rock in situ, so I think it best, at 
this time and in this connection, to examine the spontaneous 
phenomena, rather than those which are evoked : the pheno- 
mena which seem to come unsought, or, as we usually phrase 
it, by the visitation of God, rather than those which appear 
to be called up through the deliberate efforts of man. I have 
studied the former much more careftdly than the latter ; and 
space would fail me in a single volume to dispose of both. 

But, if I hard space, and felt competent to the task, it 
should not deter me that the subject is still in bad odour and 

bers. To him, also, I am indebted for a copy of the printed circular of the 
society, an able and temperate document, which will be found at length in 
tiie Appendix {Note A.). The same gentleman informed me that the re- 
searches of the society had resulted in a conviction, shared, he believed, by 
all its members, that there is sufficient testimony for the appearance, about 
the time of death or after it, of the apparitions of deceased persons ; while 
in regard to other classes of apparitions the evidence, so fer as obtained, was 
deemed too slight to prove their reality. 

To a gentleman who had been one of the more active members of the 

society, the Rev. Mr. W , I wrote, giving him the title of the present 

work, and stating in general terms the spirit and manner in which I pro- 
posed to write it. In his reply he says, " I wish that 1 were able to niake 
any contribution to your proposed work at all commensurate with the 
interest which I feel in the subject of it." . . . "I rejoice extremely to 
learn that the subject is likely to receive a calm and philosophic treatment. 
This, at least, it demands ; and, for my own part, I feel little doubt that 
great good will result from the publication of the work which you are pre- 
paring. My own experience has led me to form a conclusion similar to 
that which you express — that the possibility of supra-mundane interference 
is a question which is gradually attracting more and more attention, espe- 
cially with men of education. This circumstance makes me the more 
anxious that a selection of facts should be fairly laid before them." 

The society, popularly known as the " Ghost Club," attracted a good deal 
It fifttfetontion outside its own circle. Its nature and objects first came to my 
Kkliowledge through the Bishop of — — , who took an interest in its proceed- 
BImhk 4ii£f beaidrred himaelf to obtain contributions to its records. 


sometiines in graceless hands. I well know it to be the 
&8hion — and a very reprehensible fashion it is — ^to pass by 
with ridicule or contempt the extraordinary results which 
seem to present themselves in this connection. Be the facts 
as they may, such a course is impolitic and imwise. It is 
not by despising error that we correct it. No sensible man 
well informed as to the facts denies that, like every other 
subject professing to reach beyond the grave, this has its 
fitnatics, misled by fantasies, dealing in vagaries of the imagi- 
nation. But we are not justified in summarily setting aside, 
untested, any class of allegations because we may have de- 
tected among their supporters loose observation and false 
log^c. National opinions may be irrationally, defended. A 
creed may be true, though some of its advocates can give no 
sufficient reason for the faith that is in them. Origanus, the 
astronomical instructor of Wallenstein's famous attendant, 
Seni, was one of the earliest defenders of the Copemican 
system ; yet his arguments to prove the earth's motion are 

auite on a par, as to the absurdity of their character, with 
iiose advanced on the opposite side in favour of its immo- 

There is, then, nothing conclusive in it, that the investi- 
gator of such a subject is met with a thousand exaggerations. 
It does not settle the question, that at every step we detect 
errors and absurdities. The main problem lies deeper than 
these. " There are errors," says Coleridge, " which no wise 
man will treat with rudeness wnile there is a probability that 
they may be the refraction of some great truth as yet below 
the horizon.''* And he must be a sceptic past saving who 
has critically examined the phenomena in question without 
reaching the conclusion, that, how inaccurately soever they 
may have been interpreted ULntil now, our best powers of 
reason are worthily taxed to determine their exact character. 
Some wonders there are, in this connection, opening to 
human view. They may be purely scientific in their bear- 
ings, but if so, none the less well deserving a place beside 
the marvels of electricity in its various phases. Nor, even if 
they finally prove to be phenomena exclusively physical, 
should those, meanwhile, be bl'owbeaten or discouraged who 
seek to detect therein ultra-mundane agencies. There are re- 
searches in which, if no pains and industry be spared, 
honestly to fail is as reputable as to succeed in others. And 

♦ In his firsfc " Lay Sermon.** 


some of the most important discoveries have been made during 
a search after the impossible. Mnschenbroeck stumbled upon 
the invention of the Leyden jar while endeavouring, it is 
said, to collect and confine Thales's electric effluvium. 

Moralists and statesmen, too, should bear in mind that they 
have here to deal with an element which already seriously in- 
fluences human opinion. The phenomena sometimes called 
spiritual, whether genuine or spurious, have attracted the at- 
tention, and won more or less of the belief, not of thousands 
only — of millions, already.* And if these astoimding novel- 

* My friend William Howitt, the well-known author, who, with his 
amiable wife, has devoted mnch time and thought to this subject, says, in a 
reeent reply to the Rev. Edward White's discourses, delivered in St. Paul's 
Chapel, Kentish Town, in October, November, and December, 1858 — 
** Spiritualism is said to have convinced three millions of people in America 
alone. In Europe, I believe, there are not less than another million ; and 
the rapidity with which it is difiusing itself through all ranks and classes, 
literally from the highest to the lowest, should set men thinking. It would 
startle some people to discover in how many royal palaces in Europe it is 
firmly seated, and with what vigour it is diffusing itsejf through aU ranks 
and professions of men, who do not care to make much noise about it ; men 
and women of literary, religious, and scientific fame." 

I have not the means of judging as to the accuracy of Mr. Hewitt's total 
estimate. It must necessarily be an uncertain one. But as to the latter 
portion of that gentleman's remarks, I can indorse it from personal know- 
ledge. I found, in Europe, interested and earnest inquirers into this subject 
in every rank, from royalty downward : princes, and other nobles, statesmen, 
diplomatists, officers in the army and navy, learned professors, authors, 
lawyers, merchants, private gentlemen, fashionable ladies, domestic mothers 
of fiunilies. Most of these, it is true, prosecute their investigations in pri- 
vate, and disclose their opinions only to intimate or sympathising friends. 
But none the less does this class of opinions spread, and the circle daily 
enlarge that receives them. 

If ftirther evidence of these allegations, so far as they relate to England, 
be required, it is to be found in a late number of a well-known London 
" Quarterly," than which it would be difficult to name a periodical more opposed 
to this movement. In the "Westminster Review" for January, 1858, in an 
elaborate article devoted to the subject, the writer says, — " We should be in 
much error if- we supposed that table-turning, or that group of asserted phe- 
• nomena which in this country is embodied under that name, and which in 
America assumes the loftier title of Spiritualism, in ceasing to occupy the 
attention of the pubho generally, has also ceased to occupy the attention of 
every part of it. The &ct is very much otherwise. Our readers would be 
astonished were we to lay before them the names of several of those who 
are tmflinching believers in it, or who are devoting themselves to the study 
or reproduction of its marvels. Not only does it survive, but survives with 
all the charm and all the stimulating attractiveness of a secret science. 
Until the public mind in England shall be prepared to receive it, or until the 
evidence shall be put in a shape to enforce general conviction, the present 
policy is to nurse it in quiet, and enlarge the circle of its influence by a 
system of noiseless extension. Whether this policy will be successful remains 
to be seen ; but there can be no doubt that, should ever the time arrive for 
^tiie revival of this movement, the persons at its head would be men and 


ties are permitted to spread among us without chart or 
compass whereby to steer our course through an imexplored 
ocean of mystery, we may find ourselves at the mercy of very 
sinister influences. 

Among the communications heretofore commonly obtained, 
alleged to be tdtra-mimdane, are many which seem to justify 
that old saying of Pythagoras : "It is not out of every log 
of wood that a Mercury can be made." Whether coming to 
us from another world or from this, not a few of them con- 
tain a large mingling of falsehood with truth, and a mass of 
puerilities alternating with reason. At times they disclose 
evil passions ; occasionally they are characterized by pro- 
fanity ; and some of them, even where no fraud or conscious 
agency is presumable, exhibit unmistakeable evidence of a 
mundane origin or influence ; as all candid, sensible advo- 
cates of the spiritual theory, after sufficient experience, freely 

Hence, under any hypothesis, great danger to the weak- 
minded and the over-credulous. 

This danger is the greater, because men are wont to take 
it for granted that, when we shall have demonstrated (if we 

women whose inteUectual qnalifications are known to the public, and who 
poesesB its confidence and esteem." — ^p. 32. 

* De Grasparin considers it a conclusive argument against the spiritual 
theory, that " the particular opinions of each medium may be recognised in 
the dogmas he promulgates in the name of the spirits." " Des Tables Tour- 
nantes, dn Snmaturel en General, et des Esprits," par le Comte Ag^nor de 
Gasparin, Paris, 1855, vol. ii. p. 497.) He is only partially accurate as to 
the &ct. It is the questioner as often perhaps as the medium who receives 
back his own opinions. But this is oidy sometimes true o either. It is, 
however, beyond all doubt, sometimes true ; and the fact, however explained, 
points, with many others, to the urgent necessity, on the part of those who 
adopt the spiritual hypothesis, of receiving with the utmost care, and only 
after the strictest scrutiny, any communications, no matter what their pre- 

Until Spiritualists take such precautions — until they sit in judgment on 
what they receive, and separate the chaff" from the wheat — they cannot 
reasonably complain if the majority of intelligent men reject all because a 
part is clearly worthless. Nor, meanwhile, though a witty squib prove 
nothing, can the point be denied of that which Saxe launches against some 
al]^;ed spirit-communicators of our modem day : — 

** If in your new estate you cannot rest. 
But must return, oh, grant us this request : 
Come with a noble and celestial air. 
And prove your titles to the names you bear ; 
Give some clear token of your heavenly birth j 
Write as good English as you wrote on earth : 
And, what were once superfluous to advise, 
Don't tell, I beg you, such egpregious Ilea." 


can demonstrate) the spiritual character of a communication, 
there needs no further demonstration as to the truth of the 
facts alleged and the opinions expressed therein. 

This is a very illogical conclusion, though distinguished 
men have sometimes arrived at it.* It is one thing to deter- 
mine the ultra-mundane origin of a communication, and qtdte 
another to prove its infallibility, even its authenticity. In- 
deed, there are more plausible reasons than many imagine for 
the opinion entertained by some able men, Protestants as 
well as Catholics, t that the communications in question come 
from the Powers of Darkness, and that " we are entering on 
the first steps of a career of demoniac manifestation, the 
issues whereof man cannot conjecture." But I see no just 
cause whatever for such an opinion. The reasons for this 
revival of an antiquated belief seem to me plausible only. 
God has suffered evil to exist in this world ; yet we do not, 
for that reason, conclude that hell reigns upon earth. We 
reflect that perhaps through this very antagonism may lie 
the path of progress. Or, at least, we weigh the good 
against the evil, and believe in the beneficence of the Creator. 
But His power is not limited to this side the grave. And if 
He does permit communication from the other side, it is in 

* See, for an example, " Experimental Examination of the Spirit Mani- 
festations," by Robert Hare, M.D., Emeritus Professor of Chemistry in the 
'University of Pennsylvania, 4th ed., 1856, pp. 14, 15. When the venerable 
author obtained, as he expressed it, " the sanction of the spirits under test 
conditions," that is, by means most ingeniously contrived by him to prevent 
human deception, or (again to use his own words) " so that it was utterly 
out of the power of any mortal to pervert the •result from being a pure 
emanation from the spirits whose names were given," he received as au- 
thentic, without further doubt or question, certain extraordinary credentials 
purporting to come from another world. Professor Hare is now himself a 
denizen of that world where honest errors find correction, and where to up- 
rightness is meted out its reward. 

t As by the Rev. Charles Beecher, in his " Review of Spiritual Manifesta- 
tions," chap, vii., where will be found the quotation given in the text. 

De Mirville (" Des Esprits et de leurs Manifestations fluidiques," par le 
Marquis de Mirville, Paris, 3rd ed., 1854) is the ablest modem exponent ot 
the Catholic doctrine of Demonology. The 4th edition of his work, so his 
publishers inform me, is (May, 1859) nearly exhausted. The Church of 
Rome, it is well known, recognises the doctrine of possession by evil spirits 
as an article of faith : " Quod dsemon corpora hominum possidere et ohsi- 
dere, possit, certum de fide est." — " Theologia Mystica, ad usum Directorum 
Animarum," Paris, 1848, vol. i. p. 376. The Roman Ritual (" Cap. De exor- 
cizandis obsessis a dadmonio") supplies, in detail, the rules for exorcising the 
demon ; and, in point of fact, exorcisms, at Rome and elsewhere through- 
out Catholic countries, are at this time of daily occurrence, though 
usually conducted in private, and little spoken of outside the paXe of the 


accordance witli His attributes that such communication 
should resolve itself into mere demoniac obsession ? 

The reasons for a belief so gloomy and discouraging ap- 
pear to me mainly to rest, among Protestants at least, upon 
an error of very mischievous influence, and to which, in a 
subsequent chapter, on the Change at Death, I shall have 
occasion to advert at large. I allude to the opinion, held by 
many, that the character of man undergoes, after death, a 
sadden transformation ; and that the peculiarities and preju- 
dices which distinguish the individual in this world do not 
pass with him into another. If they do, the motley cha- 
racter of communications thence obtained (if such communi- 
cations there be) can excite no surprise. It is precisely what 
we may reasonably expect. God permits that from our 
many-charactered feUow-creatures of this world mingled 
truth and falsehood shall reach us : why not also from our 
fellow-creatures of another world, if the same variety of feel- 
ing and opinion prevail there? We are constantly called 
upon, by the exercise of our reason, to separate the srenuine 
fiW the spurious in the one case. Where do we find war- 
rant for the opinion that we are released from such a duty in 
the other ? Ijest we should imagine that, when we are com- 
manded to prove all things, the injimction relates to mun- 
dane agencies only, an express text is added, declaring that 
spirits also must be tested.* 

A world in which men should be exonerated from the 
duty, or forbidden the right, to bring the judgment into 
play — ^to sift, by the strict dictates of conscience, good from 
evil, the right from the wrong — ^would be a world disgraced 
and degraded. If such a principle were fully carried out> it 
would at last become a world lacking not only the exercise 
of reason, but reason itself. Use, to an extent which it is 
ctifficult to determine, is essential to continued existence. 
That which ceases to fulfil its purpose finally ceases to be. 
The eyes of fishes found far in the interior of the Mammoth 
Cave of Kentucky, shut out for ever from the light of day, 
are rudimental only.f 

* 1 John iv. 1. 

t This feet has been verified by dissection. The fish in question (the only 
known species of the genus Amhlyopsis speZceus) is, however, I beheve, found 
(oly in similar localities. Nor is it certain that this fish is without the 
power to disting^sh light from darkness j for the optic lobe remains. Drs. 
Teikampf, of New York, and Wyman, of Boston, have published papers on 
the subject. 

It would be an interestizig experiment to bring some of fheae ^iVioa to ^o 


But it is not conceivable that, imder the Divine Economy, 
an order of things should ever be permitted, in which man 
should be shorn of his noblest attribute; that which, more 
than any other, stamps his superiority, on this earth, over 
the lower animal races which share with him its occupation 
and its enjoyments. Human reason is the appointed pilot 
of himian civilization ; fallible, indeed, like any other steers- 
man, but yet essential to progress and to safety. That pilot 
once dismissed from the helm, the bark wiU drift at random, 
abandoned to the vagrant iafluence of every chance current 
or passing breeze. 

Let us conceive a case in illustration. Let us suppose that, 
from some imdeniably spiritual source, as through speech of 
an apparition, or by a voice sounding from the upper air, 
there should come to us the injimction to adopt the principle 
of polygamy, either as that system is legally recognised in 
Turkey, or in its unavowed form, as it appears in the great 
cities of the civilized world. In such a case, what is to be 
done? The world is God's work. The experience of the 
world is God's voice. Are we to set aside that experience, 
proclaiming to us, as it does, that imder the principle of 
monogamy alone have man's physical powers and moral attri- 
butes ever maintained their ascendancy, while weakness and 
national decadence follow in the train of polygamy, whether 
openly carried out, as in Deseret and Constantinople, or 
secretly practised, as in London and New York ? Are we to 
give up the certain for the uncertain? — the teachings of 
God, through His works, for the biddings of we know not 

The foUy and danger of so doing are apparent. Intima- 
tions from another world (supposing their reality) may be 
useftd ; they may be highly suggestive ; they may supply 
invaluable materials for thought : just as the opinions of 
some wise man or the advice of some judicious friend, here 
upon earth, might do. But no opinion, no advice, from 
friend or stranger, ought to be received as infallible, or ac- 
cepted as a rule of action, imtil Reason shall have sat in 
judgment upon it and decided, to the best of her ability, its 
truth and worth. 

There exist not, nor can arise, any circumstances whatever 
that shall justify the reception by man, as infallible and man- 
light, and ascerfcain whether, in the course of generations, their eyes would 
gTadaaUjr become perfect. 


datory, of any such comnmnication. Let us suppose the 
extreme case. Let us imagine that, from some intelligence 
clearly ultra-mundane, there should come to us a certain com- 
munication which, fairly tested by reason, we decide to exceed, 
in depth and wisdom, anything which that reason unaided 
could originate. Are we, because of the evident excellence of 
that commimication, to receive with imquestioning acquies- 
cence all its fellows coming apparently from the same source ? 
Li the chapter on Sleep, cases will be adduced in proof that 
our intellectual powers during sleep sometimes surpass any 
waking effort. Yet what rational man would thence infer 
that we ought to be governed by our dreams ? 

If I have dwelt at length, and insisted with some iteration 
on this matter, it is because of the wide-spread mischief to 
which, in this connection, blindly assenting credulity has, in 
these later times especially, given rise ; . it is because of the 
urgent necessity for judgment to discriminate, for caution to 
scrutinize. But the necessity is as urgent to bear in mind, 
that judgment and caution are the very opposites of proscrip- 
tion and prejudice. On the supposition that spirits do actually 
communicate, if those who ought to give tone and direction to 
public opinion content themselves with arrogantly denouncing 
the whole as a portentous imposture, they lose all power or 
opportunity to regulate a reality of which they deny the 
existence.* And in the case here supposed, our moral and 

* Dining, in February, 1859, with a wealthy and well-known London 
capitalist, and sitting at table next to the lady of the house, she broached 
the subject of Spiritualism. I asked her if she had seen any of its alleged 
phenomena. She replied that she had not ; that, from what she had heard, 
she was convinced there was some reality in it ; but, being of a nervous 
temperament, and not assured of her own self-control, she had refrained from 
examining its manifestations. " Then I know," she added, " that it has done 
so much harm. Has it not ?" (appealing to a gentleman sitting near us.) 
He assented in strong terms. I begged him to give me an example. '* I 
could give you many," he replied, " in the circle of my acquaintance ; but 
one in particular occurs to me. The daughter of a friend of mine, in a 
family of the utmost respectability, and herself amiable and intelligent, is at 
this very time quite carried away with its delusions. She had raps from 
the table, and is in the habit of shutting herself up, day after day, in the 
garret of her father's house, spelling out communications which she imagines 
to come from departed spirits. She will not even take the exercise necessary 
to her health; alleging that while she is gone she may lose the chance of 
receiving some divine message. The remonstrances of her parents, who are 
not at all affected with the mania, are unavailing ; and it causes them much 

Let us put what interpretation we may upon that which has been called 
the spirit-rap and the communications thus obtained, it is evident th&t «^0a. 
a case as the above savours of fanaticism and urgently dennasidA T^^oS^a^^XL. 


religious guides risk the loss of influence and position by put- 
ting aside an aU-important inquiry — a contingency wmch as 
a body they appear to have overlooked. 

The clauns of the subject to the notice of the clergy and 
of other public teachers are not founded alone upon the fact 
that this heresy (if heresy it be) has penetrated to every rank 
and class of society, and now influences, more or less, the 
opinions and the conduct of millions throughout the civilized 
world. These claims reach further still. They derive from 
the necessity of the case. The question as to investigation 
or no investigation is one of time only. Once mooted and 
seized upon by popular sympathy, a matter like this must be 
probed to the bottom. There is nothing else for it. We can 
get rid of it on no other terms. We cannot hush it up if we 
would ; we ought not if we could. Viewed in its scientific 
aspect, we might as reasonably interdict the study of electricity 
or the employment of the magnetic wires. And as regards its 
spiritual pretensions, either these are a perilous delusion, to be 
detected and exploded, as by carefully prosecuted researches 
every delusion can be, or else a reality important beyond 
any that crosses our daQy path. If they be a delusion, lead- 
ing astray the flock, on whom so strictly as on its pastor 
devolves the task of exposure ? — ^but of exposure after inves- 
tigation ; since, in the words of a wise man of old, '* He that 
answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame 
unto him.''* If, on the other hand, it should prove to be a 
reality, how grave their responsibility who blindly oppose it ! 
In such a case, research on the part of pubHc teachers rises 
to the rank of a sacred duty, lest haply, like the unbelievers 
of Gamaliel's day, they be found fighting against God. 

And this duty is bounden the rather because of a great 
difficulty, suggested by the narratives forming the staple of 
this volume, which necessarily attends the policy of non- 
investigation. There is the question, how far we are to carry 
out that policy. Men, during the last ten years, and in our 
country especially, have, in this connection, had their atten- 
tion mainly directed to what, in one sense, may be called the 

No condition of mind cjan be healthy — scsarcely sane — ^which withdraws all 
thoughts from the duties of earthly life, even from the care of bodily health, 
and suffers them to be wholly engrossed by such communications ; above all, 
when these are received, unquestioned, as divine and infallible revelation. 

But to deny actual phenomena is not the proper mode to win over a misled 
or diseased mind. 

* Proverbs xviii. 13. 


artificial phase of the subject. They have been chiefly occu- 
pied in examining phenomena which occur as the result of 
express intention and calculated method ; which are elicited, 
not merely witnessed : such as the manifestations which come 
to light through what is called medium ship, in spiritual cir- 
cles, through writing by impression, during artificial somnam- 
bulism, and the like. These constitute but a small fraction 
of a great subject. They have for the most part been called 
forth during a few years only ; while the vast mass of pheno- 
mena evidently allied to them, but purely spontaneous in their 
character, are spread over ages, and come to us through all 
past history. These latter present themselves not merely 
unexpected, not unsought only, but often unwished for, depre- 
cated, occasionally even in spite of entreaty and prayer. 
Often, indeed, they assimie the character of ministration by 
spirits loving and gentle ; but at other times they put on the 
semblance of persecution, retributive and terrible.* The for- 
mer appear to bear out the doctrine of celestial guardianship, 
while the latter seem sent by God as he sends on the material 
world the hurricane and the earthquake. But both are inde- 
pendent of man's will or agency. They come as the rain 
falls or as the lightning flashes. 

This complicates the case. We may condemn as Python- 
ism, or denounce as unlawful necromancy, the seeking after 
spiritual phenomena, f But in so doing we dispose of a small 
branch of the subject only. How are we to deal with ultra- 
mundane manifestations, in case it should prove that they do 
often occur, not only without our agency but in spite of our 
adjuration ? Grant that it were unwise, even sinful, to go in 
search of spiritual intervention : what are we to say of it if it 
overcome us sudden and unsolicited, and, whether for good or 
for evil, a commissioned intruder on our earthly path ? Under 
that phase also (if under such it be found really to present 
it/self) are we to ignore its existence ? Ought we, without 
any inquiry into the character of its influence, to prejudge 
and to repulse it ? Let it assume what form it may, are we 

* See, ae an example of the former, the narrative entitled " The Bejected 
Suitor," and, as a specimen of the latter, that called " What an English 
Officer suffered :" both given in subsequent chapters of this work. 

t In the records of the past we come, from time to time, upon proof that 
men have been disposed to regard that which they imperfectly understood as 
savouring of unhallowed mystery. In Chaucer's tale of the " Chanon Yeman," 
chemistry is spoken of as an elfish art ; that is, taught or conducted by 
spirits. This, Warton says, is an Arabian idea. See " Warton*s Hiatorj o^^ 
English Poetry," vol. i. p. 169. 


still, like the Princess Parizade of the Arabian tale, to stop 
our ears with cotton against the voices around us ? 

The abstract right to investigate the broad question as to 
the reality of ultra-mundane interference wiU not, in the 
United States, be seriously questioned. There never was a 
period in the world's history when human tyranny could 
close, except for a season, the avenue to any department of 
knowledge which the Creator has placed within the reach of 
man; least of aU, one involving interests so vital as this. 
Nor is there any country in the civilized wgrld where the 
attempt could be made with less chance of success than in ours. 

Many, however, who concede the right deem its exercise 
to be fraught with danger to human welfare and happiness. 
Some danger, beyond question, there is. What thing in 
nature is. one-sided ? Which of our studies may not be in- 
judiciously undertaken or imprudently pursued? Some- 
thing, in all human endeavours, we must risk ; and that risk 
is the greatest, usually, for the most important objects. Re- 
ligious researches involve more risk than secular: they 
demand, therefore, greater caution and a more dispassionate 
spirit. Are we to avoid them for that reason ? Would their 
interdiction subserve man's welfare and happiness ? 

That theory of the solar system which is now admitted by 
every astronomer and taught to every school-boy was once 
alleged to be fraught with danger to the welfare and happi- 
ness of mankind, and its author was compelled on his knees 
to pledge his oath that he would never more propagate it, by 
word or writing. Yet what scientific hypothesis do men at 
the present day scruple to examine ? Aiid, if scientific, why 
not spiritual also ? Are we prepared to trust our reason in 
the one case, but reject its conclusions in the other? — ^to 
declare of that noble faculty, as a German caviller did of the 
telescope which first revealed to human sight the satellites of 
Jupiter, that " it does wonders on the earth, but falsely re- 
presents celestial objects ?*' * 

* Martin Korky, in one of the " Kepleri EpistolaB." He it was who de- 
clared to his master, Kepler, " I will never concede his four planets to that 
Italian from Padua, though I die for it," and of whom, when he afterwards 
begged to be forgiven for his presumptuous scepticism, Kepler wrote to 
Galileo, " I have taken him again into favour upon this express condition, to 
which he haa agreed, that I am to show him Jupiter's satellites, and he is to 
see theniy and own that they are there." 

There are a good many Martin Korkys of the present day, with whom, as 
to some of the phenomena to be noticed in this volume, the sam^ agreement 
should be made. 


Let US take courage, and trust to the senses God has given 
us. There is no safety in cowardice, no expediency, eveuv if 
there were possibiKty, in evasion. If to the investigation of 
these matters we must come sooner or later, it is the part of 
wisdom and manliness to undertake it at <jnee. 

A large portion of the periodicals of the day have hitherto 
either whoUy ignored the subject of ultra-mundane interfer- 
ence, or else passed it by with superficial and disparaging 
notice. After a time there will be a change in this.* The 
subject is gradually attaining a breadth and importance and 
winning a degree of attention which will be felt by the 
better portion of the press as entitling it to that respectftd 
notice which is the due of a reputable opponent. And surely 
this is as it should be. Let the faots be as they may, the 
duty of the press and of the pulpit is best fulfilled, and the 
dangers incident to the subject are best averted, by pro- 
moting, not . discouraging, inquiry ;t but inquiry, thorough, 
searching, sedulously accurate, and in the strictest sense of 
the term impartial. 

The first requisite in him who undertakes such an investi- 
gation — ^more important, even, than scientific training to 
accurate research — ^is that he shall approach it unbiassed and 
unpledged, bringing with him no favourite theory to be built 
^•up, no preconceived opinions to be gratified or offended, not a 
wish that the residts should be found to be of this character 
or of that character, but a single, earnest desire to discover of 
what character they are, 

* Respectable periodicals, nntinctured by peculiarities of opinion, liave 
already begun to treat the general subject with more deference than for- 
merly. For exaihple, in a long article, entitled " Ghosts of the Old and New 
School," in one of the London Quarterlies, while the chief phenomena called 
spiritual are discredited, there occur such admissions as the following : — 
" There are sets of facts that demand a more searching and persevering in- 
vestigation than they have yet received — either that they may be finally dis- 
posed of as felse, or reduced to scientific order. Such aare the appearance of 
ghosts, the power of second-sight, of clairvoyance, and other phenomena 
of magnetism and mesmerism ; the nature of sleep and dreams, of spec- 
tral illusions (in themselves a decisive proof that the sense of sight may 
be fully experienced independently of the eye) ; the limits and working of 
mental delusion and enthusiajstic excitement." — J^ational Review for July, 
1858, p. 13. 

t " Eclairons-nous sur les v^rit^g, quelles qu*elles soient, qui se pr^sentent 
d notre observation ; et loin de craindre de favoriser la superstition en ad- 
mettant de nouveaux ph^nom^nes, quand ils sent bien prpuves, soyons per- 
suades que le seul moyen d*emp6cher les abus qu'on pent en faire, c'est d'en 
r^pandre la connaissance." — Bebteand. 



To what extent I bring to the task such qualifications, 
they who may read these pages can best decide. No man ^s 
an impartial judge of his own impartiality. I distrust mine. 
I am conscious of a disturbing element; a leaning in my 
mind, aside from the simple wish to detect what really is. 
Not that on the strictest self-scrutiny I can accuse myself of 
a desire to foist into such an inquiry any preconceptions, 
scientific or theological, nor yet of the least imwillingness to 
accept or to surrender any opinions, orthodox or heterodox, 
which the progress of that inquiry might establish or dis- 
prove. Not that. But I am conscious of a feeling that has 
acquired strength within me as these researches progressed ; 
a desire other than the mere readiness to inspect with dispas- 
sionate equanimity the phenomena as they appeared ; an ear- 
nest hope, namely, that these might result in furnishing to 
the evidence of the soul's independent existence and immor- 
tality a contribution drawn from a source where such proof 
has seldom, imtil recently, been sought. 

Against the leaning incident to that hope, interwoven with 
man's nature as it is, the explorer of such a field as this 
should be especially on his guard. It is one of the many 
difficulties with wnich the imdertaking is beset. "It is 
easy," truly said Bonnet, the learned Genevese — " it is easy 
and agreeable to beUeve; to doubt requires an unpleasant 
effort." And the proclivity to conclude on insufficient evi- 
dence is the greater when we are in search of what we' 
strongly wish to find. Our longings overhurry our judg- 
ments. But what so earnestly to be desired as the assurance 
that death, the much dreaded, is a friend instead of an enemy,, 
opening to us, when the dark curtain closes on earthly scenes, 
the portals of a better and happier existence ? 

It is a common opinion that the all-sufficient and only 
proper source whence to derive that conviction is sacred 

But, how strongly soever we may affirm that the Scrip- 
ture proofi of the soul's immortality ought to command the 
belief of all mankind, the fact remains that they do not.* 

* The nnmber of materialists throughout the educated portion of civilized 
society, especially in Europe, is much greater than on the sur&ce it would 
appear. If one broaches serious subjects, this fact betrays itself. I wai 
conversing one day with a French lady of rank, intelligent and thoughtful 
beyond the average of her class, and happened to express the opinion that 
progression is probably a law of the next world, as of this. " Yon really 
believe, then, in another world ?" she asked. 

" Certainly, Madame la Comtesse." 


Some rest unbeKevers ; many more carry about with them, 
as to the soul's fixture destiny, a faith inanimate and barren ; 
and, even among' those who profess the most, the creed of 
the greater number may be summed up in the exclamation, 
"Lord, I believe : help Thou mine unbelief!'* * 

Since, then, no complaint is more common from the pulpit 
itself than of the world-wide discrepancy daily to be found, 
even among the most zealously pious, between faith and prac- 
tice, mav we not trace much of that discrepancy to the feeble 
grade oi credence, so ,far below the living conviction which 
our senses bring home to us of earthly things, which often 
makes up this wavering faith ?f 

It is miportant also to distinguish among those who go by 
the general name of unbelievers. Of these, a few deny that 
man has an immortal soul; others allege that they have as 
yet found no conclusive proof of the soul's ultra-mundane 
existence : and the latter are much more numerous than the 

The difference between the two is great. The creed of the 
one may be taxed with presumption, of the other with insuf- 
ficiency only. The one profess already to have reached the 
goal; the others declare that they are still on the road of 

** Ah. ! you are a fortunate man," she replied, with some emotion. " How 
many of ns do not !" 

* We shall often find, in the expressions employed by distingaished men 
(especially the leaders in science) to express their sense of the importance 
of a firm religions belief, rather a desire to obtain it, and envy of those who 
possess it, than an assertion that they themselves have found all they 
sought. H^re is an eloquent example : — 

** I enyy no qualities of the mind and intellect in others — nor genius, nor 
power, nor wit, nor &ncy ; but if I could choose what would be most de- 
ligfatfol and, I believe, most useful to me, I should prefer a firm religious 
belief to every other blessing. Por it makes life a discipline of goodness, 
creates new hopes when all earthly hopes vanish, and throws over the 
decay, the destruction, of existence, the most gorgeous of all lights ; 
awakens life in death, and calls out from oormption and decay beauty 
and everlasting glory." — Sib Humphry Davy. 

t One among a thousand illustrations of this discrepancy is to be found 
in the bitter anguish — ^the grief refusing to be comforted — with which sur- 
vivon often bewail the dead; a grief infinitely more poignant than that 
with which they would see them embork for another hemisphere, if it were 
even without e3q)ectation of their return and with no certainty of their 
happiness. If we do not forget, do we practically realize, that article of 
fiuih which teaches that it is only to us th^ die ? The German idiomatic 
SBEinreasion, in this connection, is as correct as it is beautiful : — 

^ Den Oberlin hatte zuweilen die Ahnung wie ein kalter Schauer duroh- 
dnmgen, dass sein geliebtes Weib ih/m sterben konne." — Das grosse Gehevm- 
MssSermenscMichen B<yppel/Miifwr^ Dresden, 1855. 


But as to these latter, any additional class of proofs" we can 
find touching the nature of the soul are especiaUy important. 
Here we come upon the practical bearings of the question. 
For, while men are so diversely constituted and so variously 
trained as we find them, the same evidence will never con- 
vince all minds. And it is equally unchristian,* unphiloso- 
phical, and imjust to condemn one's neighbour, because the 
species of testimony which convinces us leaves him in doubt 
or disbelief. Shall we imagine a just God joining in such a 
condemnation ? Or may we not, far more rationally, believe 
it probable that, in the progressive course of His economy, 
He may be providing for each class of minds that species of 
evidence wmch is best fitted for its peculiar nature ? 

A Paris physician of the highest standing. Dr. Gfeorget, 
the well-known author of a Treatise on the Physiology of the 
Nervous System,t made his will on the 1st of March, 1826, 

* Matthew vii. 1. It is quit© contrary to the fact to assame as to sceptics 
in general that they are wilfully blind. Many, it is true, especially in the 
heyday of youth, &I1 into unbelief or an indifference much resembling it, 
from sheer heedlessness; while some deliberately avoid the thoughts of 
another world, lest these should abridge their pleasures in this ; but the 
better and probably the more numerous portion belong to neither of these 
classes. They scruple because^ difficulties are thrust upon them. They 
doubt Tinwillingly and perforce.' The author of the " Eclipse of Faith" 
(written in reply to Newman's "Phases of Faith") gives, as the confession 
of such an one, what is appropriate to hundreds of thousands : — 

" I have been rudely driven out of my old beliefs ; my early Christian 
fidth has given way to doubt ; the little hut on the mountain-side, in which 
I had thought to dwell with pastoral simplicity, has been shattered by the 
tempest, and I turned out to the blast without a shelter. I have wandered 
long and i^, but have not found that rest which you tell me is to be ob- 
tained. As I examine all other theories, they seem to me pressed by at least 
equal difficulties with that I have abandoned. I cannot make myself 
contented, as others do, .with believing nothing ; and yet I have nothing to 
believe. I have wrestled long and hard with my Titan foes, but not suc- 
cessfully. I have turned to every quarter of the universe in vain. I have 
interrogated my own soul, but it answers not, I have gazed upon nature, 
but its many voices speak no articulate language to me ; and, more espe- 
cially, when I gaze upon the bright page of the midnight heavens, those 
orbs gleam upon me with so cold a light and amidst so portentous a silence, 
that I am, with Pascal, terrified at the spectacle of the infinite solitude." 
—p. 70. 

t " De la Physiologic du Syst^me Nervpux, et specialement du Cerveau." 
Par M. Greorget, D. M. de la Faculty de Paris, ancien Interne de premiere 
classe de la division des Ali^n^s de I'Hospice de la Salpetri^re : 2 vols., 
Paris, 1821. 

The original text of the clause in Gteorget's will, above quoted from, will 
be found in " Rapports et Discussions de I'Aoademie Boyale de Medecine sur 
le Magnetisme animal," by M. P. Foissac, M.D., Paris, 1833, p. 289. The 
exact words of his avowal are, " A peine avais-je mis au jour la * Physiologic 
dn Syst^me Nerveux,* que de nonvelles meditations sur un ph^nom^ne bien 


dying shortly after. To that document a clause is appended, 
in which, after alluding to the fact that in the treatise above 
referred to he had openly professed materialism, he says, *' I 
had scarcely published the 'Physiologie du Syst^me Ner- 
veux,' when additional reflections on a very extraordinary 
phenomenon, somnambulism, no longer allowed me to doubt 
of the existence, jba us and out of us, of an intelligent prin- 
ciple, differing entirely from any material existence." He 
adds, " This declaration will see the light when my sincerity 
can no longer be doubted nor my intentions suspected. 
And he concludes by an earnest request, addressed to those 
' who may be present at the opening of his will, that they 
will give to the declaration in question aU the publicity 

Thus we find an able man, living in a Christian country, 
where he had access to all the usual evidences of our religion, 
who remains during the greater part of his life a materialist, 
and toward its close finds, in a psychological phenomenon, 

Eroof sufficient to produce a profound conviction that his 
fe's belief had been an error, and that the soul of man has 
an immortal existence. 

The Bible had failed to convince him of his error. But 
ought not every believer in the soul's immortality to rejoice 
that the unbehef which scriptural testimony had proved in- 
sufficient to conquer, yielded before evidence drawn from 
examination of one of the many wonders, exhibited by what 
every one but the atheist declares to be the handiwork of 

And since that wonder belongs to a class of phenomena the 
reality of which is denied by many and doubted by more, 
shotdd not every friend of religion bid God-speed the inquirer 
who pushes his researches into regions that have produced 
fruits so valuable as these P 

Nor is he a true friend to religion or to his race who does 
not desire that men should obtain the strongest possible evi- 
dence which exists of the soul's immortality, and the reality 
of a ftiture life. But if there actually be physical evidence, 
cognisable by the senses, of these great trutLf it is, and ever 

extraordinaire, le sonmambulisme, ne me permirent plus de douter de Tez- 
istence, en nous et liors de nous, d'un principe intelligent, tout-A-feit dif- 
^rent des existences materielles." 

HuBSon, a member of the Paris Academy of Medicine, in a report to that 
body made in 1825, speaks of Georget as " notre estimable, laborieux, et 
modeste ooU^gue." — Foissac's Ba(p'p(yrts et DistMSsions, p. 28. 


must be, stronger tlian any which can possibly result from 
scriptural testimony. Intelligent Christians, even the most 
orthodox, admit this ; Tillotson, for example. It forms, 
indeed, the staple of his argument against the real presence. 
Says that learned prelate : " Infidelity were hardly possible to 
men, if all men had the same evidence for the Christian reli- 
gion which they have against transubstantiation ; that is, the 
clear and irresistible evidence of sense."* 

Scripture and common sense alike sustain this doctrine; 
nay, our every-day language assumes its truth. If a friend, 
even the most trusted, relate to us some incident which he 
has witnessed, in what terms do we express our conviction 
that he has told us the truth P Do we say, " I know his tes- 
timony ?'* There is no such expression in the English lan- 
guage. We say, " I believe his testimony.'^f I* is true that 
such evidence, subject, however, to cross-examination, decides, 
in a court of justice, men's lives and fortunes ; but only from 
the necessity of the case ; only because the judges and jury 
could not themselves be eye or ear witnesses of the facts to be 
proved : and, with every care to scrutinise such testimony, it 
has ere now brought innocent men to the scaffold. Nor, save 
in extraordinary or exceptional cases, is it uinder our system 
ever taken in court at second-hand. J And when a witness 
begins to repeat that which others have seen and related, what 
is the common phrase employed to recall him to his proper 
sphere of duty r — " Do not tell us what others have said to 
you : keep to what you can depose of your own knowledge^* 

So, also, when iu Scripture reference is made to persons 

* " The works of the Most Reverend Dr. John Tillotson, late Lord Arch- 
bishop of Canterbury," 8th ed., London, 1720. Sermon XXVI. 

t In the present volnme I shall haye occasion to testify as to many things 
which I have heard and semi. Nor do I imagine that men, themselves 
candid, will suspect in me lack of candour ; for when a man of honest motive, 
seeking only the truth, plainly and impartially narrates his experience, that 
which he says usually bears with it to the upright mind an internal war- 
rant of sincerity. But yet my testimony is, and ever must be, to the reader, 
evidence of &br lower grade and far less force than that he would have ob- 
tained if he had himself personally witnessed what I narrate. The differ- 
ence is inherent in the nature of things. 

J I speak of the principles of evidence recognised by the common law ; a 
system under which personal rights and guards to the liberty of the citizen 
are probably better assured than under any other ; though as to some rights 
of property the civil law system may claim the superiority. 

Evidence at second-hand is admissible in the case of a dying man, con- 
scious of the near approach of death, or as to what has been said, uncon- 
tradicted, in the presence and within the hearing of a prisoner ; bat these 
are the exceptions establiBhiug the general rule. 


having fcdtli or lacking it, how are they designated? As 
knouHTB and unknawers? No: but as believers and unbe- 
lievers. " He that believeth" — ^not he that knoweth — " shall 
be saved.** As to things spiritual, the Bible (with rare 
exceptions) speaks of our behef on this side the grave, oiir 
knowledge omy on the other. " Then shall we know, even 
as also we are known." 

But to argue at length such a point as this is mere super- 
erogation. There are some truths the evidence for which no 
argument can strengthen, because they appeal directly to oiir 
consciousness, and are adopted unchallenged and at once. A 
pious mother loses her child — ^though the very phrase is a 
falsity : she but parts with him for a season — ^but, in the 
world's language and in her heart's language, she loses her 
only child by death. If, now, just when her bereavement is 
felt the most despairingly — ^in the bitter moment, perhaps, 
(the winter's storm raging without), when the thought flashes 
across her that the cold sleet is beating on her deserted dar- 
ling's new-made grave ; if in that terrible moment there 
should reach her suddenly, unexpectedly, a token visible to 
the senses, an appearance in bodily form, or an actual message, 
perhaps, which she knew came that instant direct from her 
child; that appearance or that message testifying that he 
whom she had just been thinking of as lying, wrested from 
her loving care, imder the storm-beaten turf, was not there, 
was far happier than even she had ever made him, was far 
better cared for than even in her arms : in such a moment as 
that, how poor and worthless are all the arts of logic to prove 
that the simshine of such unlooked-for assurance, breaking 
through the gloomy tempest of the mother's grief, and light- 
ing up her shrouded hopes, has added nothing to the measure 
of her belief in immortality, has increased not the force of 
her convictions touching the Great Future, has raised not 
from faith to knowledge the degree of credence with which 
she can repeat to her soul the inspiring words, that, though 
the dust has returned to the earth as it was, the spirit is in 
the hands of God who gave it ! 

Then, if it sho^ild happen that the "unknown Dark" may, 
in a measure, even here become known ; if it should be that 
the Great Dramatist inaptly described the next world, when 
he Called it 

** The undisooTered oonntiy, ttom. whcMse boom 
No traveller returns ;" 

if it should prove true that occasions sometimes present them- 


selves when we have the direct evidence of our senses to 
demonstrate the continued existence and affection of those 
friends who have passed that bourn ; if it should be the will 
of God that, at this stage of man's constant progress, more 
clearly distinguishing phenomena which, in modem times at 
least, have been usually discredited or denied, he should attain 
a point at which belief y the highest species of conviction which 
Scripture or analogy can supply, may rise to the grade of 
knowledge ; — ^if all this be, in very deed, a reality, is it not a 
glorious one, earnestly to be desired, gratefully to be wel- 
comed ? 

And should not those who, with a single eve to the truth, 
faithfully and patiently question nature, to discover whether 
it is reality or illusion — should not such honest and earnest 
investigators be cheered on their path, be commended for 
their exertions P If it be a sacred and solemn duty to study 
the Scriptures in search of religious belief, is it a duty less 
sacred, less solenm, to study nature in search of religious 
knowledge ? 

In prosecuting .that research, if any fear to sin by over- 
passing the limits of permitted inquiry and trespassing upon 
unholy and forbidden groimd, let him be reminded that God, 
who protects His own mysteries, has rendered that sin impos- 
sible ; and let him go, reverently indeed, but freely and un- 
doubtingly, forward. If God has closed the way, man cannot 
pass thereon. But if He has left open the path, who shall 
forbid its entrance ? 

It is good to take with us through life, as companion, a 
great and encouraging subject ; and of this we feel the need 
the more as we advance in years. As to that which I have 
selected, eminently true is the happy expression of a modem 
writer, that "in journeying with it we go toward the sun, 
and the shadow of our burden falls behind us."* 

Some one has suggested that, if we would truly determine 
whether, at any given time, we are occupying ourselves after 
a manner worthy of rational and immortal beings, it behoves 
us to ask our hearts if we are willing death should surprise 
us in the occupation. There is no severer test. And if we 
apply it to such researches as these, how clearly stands forth 
their high character ! If, in prosecuting such, the observer 
be overtaken by death, the destroyer has no power to arrest 
his observations. The fatal fiat but extends their field. The 

• (c 

Essays written during the IntervsJs of Business," London, 1853, p. 2. 


torch is not quenched in the grave. It bums far more 
brightly beyond than ever it did or can in this dim world of 
ours. Here the inquirer may grope and stumble, seeing but 
as through a glass darkly. Death, that has deHvered so many 
millions from misery, will dispel his doubts and resolve his 
difficulties. Death, the unriddler, will draw aside the curtain 
and let in the explaining light. That which is feebly com- 
menced in this phase of existence will be far better prosecuted 
ia another. Will the inquiry be completed even there ? 
Who can tell ? 

c 3 




" He who, ontside of pure mathematics, pronounces the word iw^ossible, 
lacks prudence." — Aeago : AwMiwwe d/u Bwreom des Longitudes^ 1853.* 

There was enacted, in April of the year 1493, and in tlie 
city of Barcelona, one of those great scenes which occur but 
a few times in the history of our race. 

A Genoese mariner, of himible birth and fortune, an enthu- 
siast, a dreamer, a believer in Marco Polo and MandeviUe, and 
in all their gorgeous fables — ^the golden shores of Zipango, 
the spicy paradise of Cathay — ^had conceived the magmficent 
project of seeking out what proved to be an addition to the 

Lown world of another hemisphere. 

He had gone begging from country to country, from 
monarch to monarch, for countenance and means. - His pro- 
posals rejected by his native city, he had carried them to 
Spain, then governed by two of the ablest sovereigns she ever 
had. But there the usual fortune of the theorist seemed to 
pursue him. His best protector the humble guardian of an 
Andalusian convent, his doctrine rejected by the queen's con- 
fessor as savouring of heresy, his lofty pretensions scouted by 
nobles and archbishops as those of a needy foreign adven- 
turer, his scheme pronounced by the learned magnates of the 
Salamanca council (for when was titled science ever a 
pioneer ?) to be " vain, impracticable, and resting on grounds 
too weak to merit the support of the Government" — ^he had 
scantQy foimd at last, even in the enlightened and enterpris- 
ing Isabella, tardy faith enough to adventure a simi that any 
lady of her court might have spent on a diamond bracelet or 
a necklace of pearl, f 

* The origmal, with its context, is " Le doute est une preuve de modestie, 
et il a rarement nui aux progr^s des sciences. On n*en pourrait pas dire 
autant de Viin,credAiUti. Celui qui, en dehors des math^matiques pures, 
prononce le mot vmpossihle, manque de prudence. La reserve est surtout 
un devoir quand il s*agit de Torganisation animate." — AwMJimre^ p. 445. 

t Seventeen thousand florins was the petty amount which the fitting-out 
of Columbus's first expedition cost the crown of Castile. How incommen- 
surate, sometimes, are even our successfid exertions with the importance of 
some noble but novel object of research ! 


And now, returned as it were from the dead, survivor of a 
voyage overhung with praetematural horrors, his great pro- 
blem, as in despite of man and nature, triimiphantly resolved, 
the visionary was welcomed as the conqueror; the needy 
adventurer was recognised as Admiral of the Western Ocean 
and Viceroy of a New Continent ; was received, in solemn 
state, by the haughtiest sovereigns in the world, rising at his 
approach, and invited (Castilian punctiKo overcome by intel- 
lectual power) to be seated before them. He told his wondrous 
story, and exhibited, as vouchers for its truth, the tawnv 
savages and the barbaric gold. King, queen, and court sank 
on their knees; and the Te Deimi soimded, as for some 
glorious victory. 

That night, in the silence of his chamber, what thoughts 
may have thronged on Columbus's mind ! What exultant 
emotions must have swelled his heart ! A past world had 
deemed the Eastern Hemisphere the entire habitable earth. Age 
had succeeded to age, century had passed away after century, 
and still the interdict had been acquiesced in, that westward 
beyond the mountain pillars* it belonged not to man to 
explore. And yet he, the chosen of God to solve the greatest 
of terrestrial mysteries, aflfronting what even the hardy 
mariners of Palos had regarded as certain destruction — ^he, 
the hopeftd one where all but himself despaired — ^had wrested 
trojn. die deep its mighty secret, — ^had accomplished what the 
imited voice of the past had declared to be an impossible 

But now, if, in the stillness of that night, to this man, 
enthusiast, dreamer, believer as he was, there had suddenly 
appeared some Nostradamus of the fifteenth century, of 
prophetic mind instinct with the future, and had declared to 
the ocean-compeller that not four centuries would elapse be- 
fore that vast intervening gulf of waters^from the further 
shore of. which, through months of tempest, he had just 
groped back his weary way — should interpose no obstacle to 
file free communication of human thought; that a man 
standing on the western shore of Europe should, within three 
hundred and seventy years from that day, engage in conver- 
sation with his fellow standing on the eastern shore of the new- 
found world ; nay, — marvel of all marvels ! — ^that the same 

quella foce Btretta 

Ov* Eroole segn6 li suoi riguardi, 

Acciocb^ l*nom piii oltre non ei metta. 

Dante, Inferno^ Canto XVI. 


fearful bolt whicli during his terrible voyage had so often lighted 
up the waste of waters around him should itself become the 
agent of communication across that storm-tossed ocean ; that 
mortal creatures, unaided by angel or demon, without inter- 
vention of heaven or pact with heU, should bring that 
lightning under domestic subjection, and employ it, as they 
might some menial or some carrier-dove^ to bear their daily 
messages ; — ^to a prediction so wildly extravagant, so surpass- 
ingly absurd, as that, what credence could even Columbus 
lend? What answer to such a prophetic vision may we 
imagine that he, with all a life's experience of man's short- 
sightedness, wc«ild have given? Probably some reply like 
this : that, though in the future many strange things might 
be, such a tanapering with nature as that — short of a direct 
miracle from God — ^was impossible ! 

Arago was right. With exact truths we may deal in a 
positive manner. Of a hexagon inscribed within a circle 
each side is of the same length as the radius of that circle : it 
is impossible it should be either longer or shorter. The 
surface contained within the square of the hypothenuse is 
exactly of the same extent as the squares, taken together, of 
the two other sides of the same right-angled triangle : it is 
impossible it should be either greater or less. These things 
we declare to be impossible with the same assurance and the 
same propriety with which we assert that we exist ; and there 
is no more presumption in declaring the one than in asserting 
the other. But, outside the domain of pure mathematics, or 
kindred regions of abstract or intuitive truth, cautious and 
modest in his pronouncings should be- fallible and short- 
sighted man. By what warrant does he assume to determine 
what God's laws permit and what they deny? By what 
authority does he take upon himself to assert that to him all 
these laws are known ? The term of his life but a day, the 
circumference of his ken but a spot, whence derives he his 
commission; groping about in his little span of the present, 
arrogantly to proclaim what is and what is not to be in the 
illimitable fiiture ? Does not history bear on every page a 
condemnation of the impiety? Does not experience daily 
rise up and testify aloud against such egregious pre- 
sumption ? 

Not thus is it that those speak and reason whom deep 
research has taught how little they know. It occurs to the 
bmnhle wisdom of such men that laws of nature may exist 

.phoper limits to scEpnasM. 37 

with which they are wholly unacquainted ;* nay, some, per- 
haps, which may never, since man was first here to observe 
them, have been brought into operation at all. 

Sir John Herschel has aptly illustrated this truth. " Among 
all the possible combinations," says that enlightened philo- 
sopher, " of the fifty or sixty elements which chemistry shows 
to exist on the earth, it is likely, nay, almost certain, that 
some have never been formed ; that some elements, in some 
proportions and under some circumstances, have never yet 
been placed in relation with one another. Yet no chemist 
can doubt that it is already fixed what they will do when the 
case does occur. They will obey certain laws, of which we 
know nothing at present, but which must be already fixed, or 
they would not be laws."t 

And what is true as to rules of chemical affinity is equally 
true of physiological and psychological laws. Indeed, it is 
more likely to be a frequent truth as to the laws of mind 
than as to those of matter, because there is nothing in the 
world so constantly progressive as the intelligence of man. 
His race alone, of all the animated races with which we are 
acquainted, changes and rises from generation to generation. 
The elephant and the beaver of to-day are not, that we know, 
more intelligent or fiirther developed than were the elephant 
and the beaver of three thousand years ago. Theirs is a 

* I translate from La Place's " Throne analytiqne des Probabilit^s :"— ^ 
" We are so far from knowing all the agents of nature and their varions 
modes of action, that it wonld not be philosophical to deny any phenomena 
merely because in the actual state of our knowledge they are inexplicable. 
This only we ought to do : in proportion to the difficulty there seems to be 
in admitting them should be the scrupulous attention we bestow on their 
examination.** — Introd.j p. 43. 

From a widely-accepted authority still better known among us I extract, 
in the same connection, the following, in the last line of which, however, 
the word possibiUty might have been more strictly in place than prohor 
hility : — 

** An unlimited scepticism is the part of a contracted mind, which reasons 
upon imperfect data, or makes its own knowledge and extent of observation 
the standard and test of probability. . . . 

*' In receiving upon testimony statements which are rejected by the vulgar 
as totally incredible, a man of cultivated mind is influenced by the recollec- 
tion that many things at one time appeared to him marvellous which he now 
knows to be true, and he thence concludes that there may still be in nature 
many phenomena and many principles vrith which he is entirely unac- 
quainted. In other words, he has learned from experience not to make his 
own knowledge his test of probability.'* — Abercrombie's Intelleetual Powers^ 
pp. 55 and 60. 

t " Preliminary Discourse on the Study of Natural Philosophy," by Sir 
John F. W. Herschol, Bart., K.H., F.R.S. London, 2.ivd eeL.,\^'b\,^.^^. 


stationary destiny, but man's an advancing one, — advancing 
from savage instincts to civilized sentiments, fix)m unlettered 
boorishness to arts and sciences and literature, from anarchy 
to order, from fanaticism to Christianity. 

But it is precisely in the case of a being whose progress is 
constant, and whose destiny is upward as well as onward, that 
we may the most confidently look, at certain epochs of his 
development, for the disclosure of new relations and the further 
unfolding of laws till then but imperfectly known. 

There is, it is true, another view to take of this case. To 
some il will seem an unwarranted stretch of analogical in- 
ference that because in the department of chemistry we may 
anticipate combinations never }et formed, to be governed by 
laws never yet operating, we should therefore conclude that 
in the department of mind, also, similar phenomena may be 
expected. Mind and matter, it may be objected, are sepa- 
rated by so broad a demarcation-line, that what is true of 
the one may be false of the other. 

Are they so widely separated ? Distinct they are ; nothing 
is more untenable than the argument of the materialist ; but 
yet how intimately connected ! A pressure on the substance 
of the brain, and thought is suspended ; a sponge with a few 
anaesthetic drops appEed to the nostrils, and insensibility 
supervenes ; another odour inhaled, and life is extinct. 

And if such be the action of matter on mind, no less striking 
is the control. of mind over matter. The influence of imagi- 
nation is proverbial ; yet it has ever been underrated. The 
excited mind can cure the suflfering body. Faith, exalted to 
extasy, has arrested disease.* The sway of will thoroughly 
stirred into action often transcends the curative power of 
physic or physician. 

feut it is not in general considerations such as these, that 
the argument rests touching the intimate connection between 
material influences and mental phenomena. The modem 
studv of the imponderables, already productive of physical 
results that to our ancestors would have seemed sheer miracles, 
has afforded glimpses of progress in another direction, which 
may brighten into discoveries before which the spanning of 
the Atlantic by a lightning- wire will pale into insignificance. 

* '* These opinions find ample confirmation — ^to select one among many 
sources — ^in a branch of study equally interesting to the physician and the 
psychologist ; the history, namely, of the great mental epidemics of the world. 
The reader will find these briefly noticed farther on in ^ese pages. 


Gulyani's first hasty inferences as to animal electricity were 
to a certain extent refuted,^ it is true, by Volta's stricter tests. 
But in Italy, in Prussia, and in England, experiments of a 
recent date, following up tlie just though imperfect idea of 
the Bolognese professor, have established the fact that the 
muscidar contractions, volimtary or automatic, which produce 
action in a Kving limb, correspond to currents of electricity 
existing there in appreciable quantities.* The discoverer of 
creosote has given to the world the results of a ten years' 
labour, it may be said, in the same field; distinguishing, 
however, what he terms the Odic from the electric force.f 
Arago thought the case of Ang^lique Cottin (well known 
under the name of the "Electric Girl") worthy of being 

* Galvani's first eventful observation on an electrical agency prodncing 
muscular contractions in animals, made on the 20th of September, 1786, 
was, after all, the starting point of the recent interesting researches by Du 
Bois-Beymond, Zantedeschi, Matteucci, and others, on the continent of 
Europe, and l^ Rutter and Leger in England. Du Bois-Beymond himself, 
member of the Academy of Sciences of Berlin,* very candidly admits this 
fikct. In a historical introduction to his work on Animal Magnetism 
(" Untersuchungen uber thierische Elektricitat," Berlin, 1848-49) that 
writer says, ** Oalvani really discovered not only the fundamental physio- 
logical experiment of galvanism properly so called (the contraction of the 
firog when touched with dissimilar metals), but also that of the electricity 
inherent in the nerves and mui^cles. Both of these discoveries were, how- 
ever, hidden in such a confusion of circumstances that the result in both 
cases appeared equally to depend on the limbs or tissues of the animals 

The reader, desiring to follow up this subject, may consult a work by H. 
Bence Jones, M.D., F.B.S., entitled ** On Animal Electricity : being an Ab- 
stract of the Discoveries of Emile Du Bois-Breymond," London, 1852. Also, 
"Traite des Ph^nomfenes electro-physiologiques des Animaux," by Carlo 
Matteucci, Professor in the Universifcy of Pisa, 1844. Also, Baron Hum- 
boldt's work on Stimulated Nervous and Muscular Fibres (" Versuche iiber 
die gereizte Muskel-und Nervenfaser, u. s. w.") 

In England experiments in this branch have been pushed further than in 
any other country ; chiefly by Rutter, of Brighton, and by Dr. Leger, whose 
early death was a loss alike to physiological and psychological science. I 
had an opportunity, through the kindness of Mr. Rutter, of personally 
witnessing the extraordinary results to which his patient research has led, 
and which I regret that space does not permit me here to notice at large. 
I can but refer to his work, " Human Electricity : the Means of its Develop- 
ment, illustrated by Experiments," London, 1854; and to another brief 
treatise on the same subject, by Dr. T. Leger, entitled " The Magnetoscope : 
an Essay on the Magnetoid Characteristics of Elementary Principles, and 
their Relations to the Organisation of Man," London, 1852. 

The whole subject is singularly interesting, and will richly repay the study 
that may be bestowed upon it. 

t I here refer to Baron Reichenbach's elaborate treatises on what he calls 
the '* Odic Force," without expressing any opinion as to the accuracy of the 
author's conclusions. Reichenbach discovered creosote in 1833. 


brought under the notice of the Paris Academy of Sciences ;* 
and, speakinar, seven years afterwards, of " the actual power 
whi'ch^one i may^exert over another without the W 
vention of any known physical agent," he declares that even 
Bailly's report against Mesmer's crude theory shows " how 
our faculties ought to be studied experimentally, and by what 
means psychology may one day obtain a place among the 
exact sciences/'t Cuvier, more familiar than Arago with the 
phenomena of animated nature, speaks more decidedly than 
he on the same subject. " It scarcely admits of further doubt," 
says that eminent naturalist, "that the proximity of two 
living bodies, in certain circumstances and with certain move- 
ments, has a real effect, independently of all participation of 
the imagination of one of the two ;" and he further adds that 
" it appears now clearly enough that the effects are due to 
some communication established between their nervous sys- 
tems.":!: This is conceding the principle lying at the base of 
Mesmerism, — a. concession which is sustained by countless 
observations, little reliable in some cases, but in others, espe- 
cially of late, carefully made by upright and capable experi- 
mentalists, on the contested ground of artificial somnambulism 
and kindred phenomena. 

Without pausing here to inquire to what extent these 
various startling novelties need confirmation, or how far the 
deductions therefrom may be modified or disproved by future 
observations, enough of indisputable can be found therein, if 
not to indicate that we may be standing even now on the 
shores of a Great Ocean slowly unveiling its wonders, and the 
exploration of which is to bring us richer reward than did that 
of the Atlantic to Columbus, at least to convince us that 

* Arago's report on the subject was made on the 16th of February, 1846. 
It is much to be regretted that an observer so sagacious should have had no 
opportunity, in this case, to follow up his first hasty experiments.' 

t "Biographie de Jean-Sylvain Bailly," by M. Arago, originally pub- 
lished in the " Annuaire du Bureau des Longitudes " for 1853, pp. 345 to 

X " Lemons d'Anatomie comparee," de G. Cuvier, Paris ; An. viii. vol. ii. 
pp. 117, 118. The original text, with its context, is as follows : — 

** Les effets obtenus sur des personnes d^jk sans connaissance avant que 
Top^ration commeni^t, ceux qui ont lieu sur les autres personnes apr^s que 
r operation leur a fait perdre connaissance, et ceux que pr^sentent les ani- 
maux, ne permettent gu^re de douter que la proximity de deux corps 
animus, dans certaines positions et avec certains mouvements, n'ait un 
eflfet reel, independant de toute participation de Timagination d'une des 
deux, n parait assez clairement, aussi, que les effets sont dus h une com- 
munication queloonque qui 8*^tablit entre leurs syst^mes nerveux." 


Herschel's philosophical remark may have a wider range than 
he intended to give it ; that in pjiysiology and in psychology, 
as in chemistry, there may be possible combinations that have 
never yet been formed under our eyes ; new relations, new 
conditions, yet to exist or appear ; sdl to be governed, when 
they do occur, by laws that have obtained, indeed, from the 
creation of the world, but have remained until now, if not 
inoperative, at least concealed from general observation. 

From general observation; for, though unrecognised by 
science, they are not therefore to be set down as \mknown. 
It is one of the objects proposed in the pages which follow, to 
glean, from the past as well as the present, scattered intima- 
tions of the existence of laws under which it has been alleged 
that man may attain, from sources other than revelation and 
analogy, some assurance in regard to the world to come. And 
since it is evident that no abstract truth is violated by the 
hypothesis of the existence of such laws, may I not adduce 
such names as Arago and Herschel to sustain me in asserting, 
that they lack prudence who take upon themselves to pro- 
nounce, in advance, that whoever argues such a theme has 
engaged in a search after the impossible ? 



The universal canse 
Acts, not by partial but by general laws. — Pope. 

Men are very generally agreed to regard him as stricken 
with superstition or blinded by credulity wbo believes in any 
miracle of modem days. And as the world grows older this 
disbelief in the supernatural gradually acquires strength and 

The reason seems to be, that the more searchingly science 
explores the mechanism of the universe and unveils the plan 
of its government, the more evidence there appears for the 
poet's opinion that it ^by general, not by part^, laws tbat 
the universe is governed. 

In sucb a doctrine the question of God's omnipotence is 
not at all involved. It is not whether He can make excep- 
tions to a system of universal law, but whether He does. If 
we may permit ourselves to speak of God's choice and inten- 
tions, it is not whether, to meet an incidental exigency. He 
has the power to suspend the order of those constant sequences 
whicb, because of their constancy, we term laws ; but only 
whether, in point of fact. He cnooses to select that occa- 
sional mode of eflfecting His objects, or does not rather see fit 
to carry tbem out after a more unvarying plan, by means less 
exceptional and arbitrary. It is a question of fact. 

But modem science, in her progress, not only strikes from 
what used to be regarded as the list of exceptions to the 
general order of nature one item after another : she exhibits 
to us, also, more clearly day by day, the simplicity of natural 
laws, and the principle of unity under which deta<5hed 
branches are connected as parts of one great system. 

Thus, as applied to what happens in our day, accumulating 
COTerience discredits the doctrme of occasional causes and the 
befief in the miraculous. If a man relate to us, even from 
his own experience, some incident clearly involving super- 
natural agency, we listen with a shrug of pity. If we have 
too good an opinion of the narrator's honesty to suspect that 
he is playing on our credulity, we conclude unhesitatingly 


that lie is deceived by his own. We do not stop to examine 
the eyidence for a modem miracle : we reject it on general 

But, in assenting to such scepticism, we shall do well to 
consider what a miracle is. Hume, in his well-known 
chapter on this subject, adduces a useful illustration. The 
Indian prince, he says, who rejected testimony as to the 
existence of ice, refused his assent to facts which arose from 
a state of nature with which he was unacquainted, and which 
bore so little analogy to those events of which he had had 
constant and uniform experience. As to these facts, he 
alleges, " Though they were not contrary to his experience, 
they were not conformable to it." * And, in explanation of 
the distinction here made, he adds, in a note, " No Indian, it 
is evident, could have experience that water did not freeze 
in cold climates." f 

Is the above distinction a substantial one ? If so, it leads 
much further than Hume intended it should. 

Not only had the Indian prince never seen water in a 
solid state ; until now, he had never heard of such a thing. 
Not only was his own unvarying experience opposed to the 
alleged fact, but the experience of his fathers, the traditions 
of his countiy, all declared that water ever had been, as now 
it was, a flmd. Had he no right to say that solid water 
was a thing contrary to his experience ? Or ought he, with 
philosophic moderation, to have restricted his declaration to 
this, that the phenomenon of ice, if such phenomenon had 
actual existence, " arose from a state of nature with which he 
was unacquainted P" 

We, who have so often walked upon solid water, find no 
diflBlculty in deciding that this last is what he ought to have 
said. Let us forgive the ignorant savage his presumptuous 
denial, as we would ourselves, in similar case, be forgiven ! 

Let us reflect how much cautious wisdom, that we find not 
among the best informed and most learned among ourselves, 
we are expecting from an imlettered barbarian. Let us in- 
quire whether Hume, calm and philosophic as he is, does not 
himself fail in the very wisdom he exacts. He says, in the 
same chapter — 

" A miracle is a violation of the laws of Nature ; and, as 
a firm and unalterable experience has established these laws, 

* ** Hume's Essays and Treatises on Varions Subjects," 2nd ed., London, 
1784, vol. ii. p. 122. 
t " Hume's Essays," vol. ii., Note K, p. 479. 


the proof against a miracle, from the very nature of the fact, 
is as entire as any argument from experience can possibly be 
imagined." ♦ 

Here are two propositions : one, that what a firm and un- 
alterable experience establishes is a law of nature ; and the 
other, that a variation from such a law is a miracle. 

But no human experience is unalterable. We may say it 
has hitherto been unaltered. And even that it is always 
hazardous to say. 

If any one has a right thus to speak of his experience and 
that of his fellows, was not the Indian prince justified in 
considering it to be proved, by unalterable experience, that 
a stone placed on the surface of a sheet of water would sink 
to the bottom ? Was he not fully justified, according to 
Hume's own premises, in setting down the traveller's alle- 
gation to the contrary as the assertion of a miracle, and, as 
such, in rejecting it as impossible f 

"No Indian,'' says Hume, "could have experience that 
water did not freeze in cold coimtries." Of course not. That 
was a fact beyond his experience. Are there no facts beyond 
ours ? Are there no states of nature with which we are 
unacquainted? Is it the Indian prince alone whose ex- 
perience is limited and fallible ? 

When a man speaks of the experience of the past as a 
regulator of his belief, he means — ^he can mean — only so 
much of that experience as has come to his knowledge 
mediately or immediately. In such a case, then, to express 
himself accurately, he ought not to say^ " the experience of 
the past," — ^for that would imply that he knows ail that has 
ever happened, — ^but only, " my past experience.'* 

Then Hume's assertion, in the paragraph above quoted, is, 
that his past experience, being finn and unalterable, f enables 
him to determine what are invariable laws of nature, and, 
consequently, what are miracles. 

Nor is this the ftdl extent of the presumption. Elsewhere 
in this chapter the author says, " that a miracle supported by 
any human testimony is more properly a subject of derision 
than of argument." J 

» "Hume's Essays," vol. ii. p. 122. 

t In another place (p. 119) Hume employs the word imfalUble in a similar 
connection, thus : — " A wise man proportions his belief to the evidence. In 
such conclusions as are founded on an infallible experience, he expects the 
event with the last degree of assurance, and regards his past experience as a 
full proof of the future existence of that event." (The italics are his.) 

J " Hume's Essays," vol. ii. p. 133. 


Taken in connection with the paragraph above cited, what 
a monstrous doctrine is here set up ! Let it be stated in plain 
terms. " I regard my past experience as firm and imalter- 
able. If a witness, no matter how credible, testifies to any 
occurrence which is contrary to that experience, I do not 
argue with such a man : he is only worthy of derision." 

Though, in our day, hundreds who ought to know better 
act out this very doctrine, I would not be understood as 
asserting that Hume intended to put it forth. We often fail 
to perceive the legitimate issue of our own premises. 

But let. us proceed a step further. Let us inquire under 
what circumstances we have the right to say, " such or such 
an occurrence is incredible, for it would be miraculous." 

The question brings us back to our first inquiry — as to 
what a miracle is. Let us examine Hume's definition : — 

" A miracle may be accurately defined, a transgression of a 
law of nature by a particular volition of the Deity, or by the 
interposition of some invisible agent." * I remark, in pass- 
ing, that the expression, " by the interposition of some invi- 
sible agent," is an inaccuracy. Cold is an invisible agent : it 
is not even a positive agent at aU, being only the withdrawal 
or diminution of heat. Yet cold suspends what the Indian 
prince had strong reason for regarding as a law of nature. 

But the main proposition remains. " A miracle is a trans- 

g'ession of a law of nature by a particular volition of the 

Here again the language seems unhappily chosen. When 
we speak of a thing as happening by the will of God, we 
rationally intend, by the expression, only that it is the act of 
God ; for God's intentions are inscrutable to us, except as 
ihey appear in His acts. Can we say of anything which occurs 
at all, that it does not occur by vohtion of the JDeity ? 

The word "transgression," too, seems not the best that 

could have been employed. f .It must, of course, be taken in 


* " Hume's Essays," vol. ii., Note K, p. 480. 

t It would be hypercriticism to object to this expression in a general way. 
The best authors have employed it as Hnme does, yet rather in poetry than 
in prose, as Dryden : — 

" Long stood the noble youth, oppressed with awe, 
And stupid at the wondrous thmgs he saw, 
Surpassing common faith, transgressing Nature's law." 

But a looseness of expression which may adorn a poetic phrase, or pass 
unchallenged in a literary theme, should be avoided in a strictly logical 
argument, and more especially in a definition of terms. 


its origmal sense of a going or passing beyond. The author 
evidently meant a suspension for the time to suit a particular 
emergency ; and that would have been the more appropriate 

Hume's idea, then, would seem to be more fittingly ex- 
pressed in these terms : — " A miracle is a suspension, in a 
special emergency and for the time only, of a law of nature, 
by the direct intervcAtion of the Deity. We might add, to 
complete the ordinary conception of a miracle, the words, " in 
attestation of some truth." 

And now arises the chief question, already suggested. 
How are we to know, as to any imusual phenomenon pre- 
sented to us, that it i^ an effect of the special intervention of 
God — ^in other words, whether it is miraculous ? 

But I will not even ask this questiofl as to ourselves, finite 
and short-sighted as we are. It shall be far more forcibly 
put. Let us imagine a sage, favoured beyond living mortal, 
of mind so comprehensive, of information so vast, that the 
entire experience of the past world, tjentury by century, even 
from man's creation, lay patent before him. Let us suppose 
the question addressed to him. And would he — sl being thus 
praDtematurally gifted — ^would even he have the rignt to 
decide, would he have the means of deciding, as to any event 
which may happen to-day, whether it is, or is not, a 
miracle ? 

He may know, what we never can, that a uniform expe- 
rience, continued throughout thousands of years and un- 
broken yet by a single exception, has established, as far as 
past experience can establish, the existence of a natural law 
or constant sequence ; and he may observe a variation, the 
first which ever occurred, to this law.- But is it given to 
him to know whether the Deity, to meet a certain exigency, 
is suspending His own law, or whether this variation is not 
an integral portion of the original law itself? in other words, 
whether the apparent law, as judged by an induction running 
through thousands of years, is the nill expression of that 
law, or whether the exception now first appearing was not 
embraced in the primary adjustment of the law itself, when 
it was first made to act on the great mechanism of the Uni- 
verse ? 

Has the Creator of the world no power to establish for its 
progressive government laws of (what we may call) a change- 
bearing character ? preserving (that is) through the lapse of 
many ages, constancy of sequence, and then, at a certain 

MR. babbage's calculator. 47 

epocli, by virtue of that character (impressed upon it by the 
same original ordination which detemuned the previous long- 
enduring constancy), made to exhibit a variation ? 

We, his creatures, even with our restricted powers, know 
how to impress upon human mechanism laws of just such a 
character. The illustration furnished by Babbage's Calcu- 
lating Machine, familiar though it may be, so naturally sug- 
gests itself in this connection, that I may be pardoned for 
presenting it here. 

Mr. Babbage's engine, intended to calculate and print 
mathematical and astronomical tables for the British Govern- 
ment, offers interesting incidental results. Of these, the 
following, supplied by the inventor himself, is an example ; 
and one of such a character that no knowledge of the 
mechanism of the machine, nor acquaintance with mathe- 
matical science, is necessary to comprehend it. 

He bids us imagine that the machine had been adjusted. 
It is put in motion by a weight, and the spectator, sitting 
down before it, observes a wheel which moves through a smaU 
angle round its axis, and which presents at short intervals to 
his eye, successiv^, a series of nimibers engraved on its 
divided surface. H!e bids us suppose the figures thus seen to 
be the series of natural numbers, 1, 2, 3, 4, &c. ; each one 
exceeding its antecedent by imity. Then he proceeds : — 

" Now, reader, let me ask how long you will have counted 
before you are firmly convinced that the engine, supposing its 
adjustments to remain unaltered, will continue, whilst its 
motion is maintained, to produce the same series of natural 
numbers? Some minds, perhaps, are so constituted, that 
after parsing the first hundred terms they wiU be satisfied 
that they are acquainted with the law. After seeing five 
hundred terms few will doubt ; and after the fifty thousandth 
term the propensity to believe that the succeeding term will 
be fi% thousand and one, will be ahnost irresistible. That 
term will be fifty thousand and one : the same regular succes- 
sion will continue ; the five millionth and the fifty millionth 
term wiU stiU appear in their expected order ; and one un- 
broken chain of natural numbers will pass before your eyes, 
from one up to one hundred million. 

" True to the vast induction which has thus been made, the 
next term will be one himdred million and one ; but after that 
the next number presented by the rim of the wheel, instead 
of being one hundred million and two, is one hundred million 


ten thousand and two. The whole series, from the com- 
mencement, being thus ; — 







regukrly a^ far as 100,000,001 

100,010,002 :— the law changes. 






" The law which seemed at first to govern this series failed 
at the hundred milKon and second term. This term is larger 
than we expected by 10,000. The next term is larger than 
was anticipated by 30,000 ; and the excess of each term 
above what we had expected is found to be 10,000, 30,000, 
60,000, 100,000, 150,000, &c. ; being, in fact, what are called 
the series of triangular numbers, each multiplied by 10,000." 

Mr. Babbage then goes on to state that this new law, after 
continuing for 2761 terms, fails at the two thousand seven 
hundred and sixty-second term, when another law comes into 
action, to continue for 1430 tonus ; then to give place to still 
another, extending over 950 terms ; which, like all its prede- 
cessors, fails in its turn, and is succeeded by other laws, which 
appear at diflferent intervals. 

Mr. Babbage's remarks on this extraordinary phenomenon 
are as follows : — 

" Now, it must be remarked, that the law that each number 
presented by the engine is greater by unity than the preceding 
number, which law the observer had deduced from an induc- 
tion of a hundred million instances, was not the true law that 
regulated its action ; and that the occurrence of the number 
100,010,002 at the 100,000,002nd term was as necessary a 
consequence of the original adjustment, and might have been 


as fiilly foreknown at the commencenient, ae waa the regular 
succession of any one of the intermediate numbers to its im- 
mediate antecedent. The same remark applies to the next 
apparent deviation from the new law, which was foimded on 
an induction of 2761 terms, and to all the succeeding laws ; 
with this limitation only, that, whilst their consecutive intro- 
duction at various definite intervals ia a necessary consequence 
of the mechanical structure of the engine, our knowledge of 
analysis does not yet enable us to predict the periods at which 
the more distant hiws will be introduced."* 

This illustration must not be taken as suborned to establish 
more than it strictly proves. It is, doubtless, not only a wise 
but a necessary provision in our nature, that the constancy of 
any sequence in the past should inspire us with faith that it 
will continue in the iuture. Without such faith, the common 
economy of life would stand still. Uncertain whether to- 
morrow's Bun would rise as did the sun of to-day, or whether 
the seasons would continue their regular alternations, our lives 
wouldpass amid scruples and hesitations. All calculation would 
be baffled ; all industry would sink under discouragement. 

The chances, so incalculably great, in most cases, as for all 
practical purposes to amount to certainty, are in favour of the 
constancy of natural sequences. The corresponding expecta- 
tions, common to man with the lower animals, are instinctive. 

All this is not only true, but it is palpable to our every-day 
consciousness — a truth whereupon is based the entire super- 
structure of our daily hopes and actions. The wheel, with its 
divided surface, ever revolving, does present, to human eyes, 
uniformity of sequence, age after age ; and when the unbroken 
chain has run on from thousands to millions, we are justified, 
amply justified, in expecting that the next term will obey the 
same law that detemuned its antecedent. Ail I have sought 
to do in this argument is to keep alive in our minds the con- 
viction, that there may be a hundred million and second term, 
at which the vast induction fails ; and that, if such does 
appear, we have no right to conclude that the change, unpre- 
cedented as it must seem to us, is not as necessary a conse- 
quence of an original adjustment as was the seemin^y infinite 
unifonnity that preceded it. 

The extreme rarity of what I have called change-bearing 
laws of nature is to be conceded ; but not the improbability of 

" Ninth Bridgrwater Treatise," by Charles Babbage, 2iid ed., London, ^F 
1838, pp. S4 to 89, The passage hae tteeu ah«ad; quoted bf another, in ■ 

Donneotiotii with a phjaiological question 


their existence. In a world all over wliicli is stamped the 
impress of progress, and which, for ought we^ Know, may con- 
tinue to endure through countless ages, laws of such a cha- 
racter, self-adapted to a changefiil state of things, may be 
re^rded as of likely occurrence.* 

J8ut it suffices for the present argument to establish the 
possibility of such laws. If they are possible, then, in regard 
to any alleged occurrence of modem times, (strange in 
character, perhaps, but coming to us well attested,) we are 
barred from asserting that, because contrary to past ex- 
perience, it would be miraculous, and is consequently impos- 
sible. We are as strictly barred from this as are the visitors 
to Mr. Babbage's engine from pronouncing, when the long 
imifonnity of a past sequence is unexpectedly violated, that 
the inventor has been dealing in the black-art and is trench- 
ing on the supernatural, t 

* Modern science is revealing to ns glimpses that may brighten into 
positive proof of this hypothesis. Sir John Herschel, writing to Lyell the 
geologist, and alluding to what he calls that " mystery of mysteries, the 
replacement of extinct species by others," says — 

" For my own part, I cannot but think it an inadequate conception of the 
Creator, to assume it as granted that His combinations are exhausted upon 
any one of the theatres of their former exercise ; though in this, as in all 
His other works, we are led by all analogy to suppose that He operates 
through a series of intermediate causes, and that, in consequence, the origi- 
nation of fresh species, could it ever come under our cognizance, would be 
found to be a natural, in contradistinction to a miraculous, process ; although 
we may perceive no indication of any process, actually in progress, which 
is likely to issue in such a result." — JSerscheVs Letter of Feb. 20, 1836, pub- 
lished m Appendix to Babbage^s work above cited, p. 226. 

f Beading this chapter more than a year after it was written — ^namely, in 
March, 1859 — to a private circle of friends in London, one of them called 
my attention, in connection with its argument, to an article then just pub- 
lished in the (London) "Athenaeum," attributed (correctly, I believe) to Pro- 
fessor De Morgan, of the London University. It proved to be a review of 
that strange self-commitment of an able man, virtually following Hume's 
&Ise lead, Faraday's extraordinary lecture on " Mental Training," delivered 
before Prince Albert, at the Royal Listitution. And it was a satisfaction to 
me, on referring to the article, to find, from the pen of one of the first 
mathematicians of Europe, such a paragraph as the following : — 

" The natural philosopher, when he imagines a physical invpossibiUty which 
is not an inconceivability, merely states that his phenomenon is against all 
that has been hitherto ^own of the course of nature. Before he can com- 
pass an impossibility, he has a huge postulate to a,sk of his reader or hearer, 
a postulate which nature never taught : it is that the future is always to 
agree with the past. How do you know that this sequence of phenomena 
always will be P Answer, Because it must be. But how do you know that 
it must be ? Answer, Because it always, has been. But then, even granting 
that it always has been, how do you know that what always has been always 
will be ? Answer, I feel my mind compelled to that conclusion. And how 
do you know that the leanings of your mind are always toward truth? Be- 



Nay, there are far stronger reasons against sucli presump- 
tion in our case than in that of the supposed spectator before 
the calculating-machine. He has observed the entire series, 
even to the hundred millionth term. How insignificant the 
fraction that has passed before our eyes ! How imperfect om' 
knowledge of that portion which has passed before the eyes 
of our ancestors ! How insufficient, then, are the data for a 
decision that the past uniformity has been unbroken ! 

And herein, beyond all question, do we find a source of 
error infinitely more frequent than is the failure to recognise 
a change-bearing law. I have set forth the existence of such 
laws as a possibility beyond himian denial ; yet only as an 
argument to meet an extreme case — ^a case so exceedingly rare 
that, notwithstanding its certain possibility, it may never 
resent itself to our observation. So far as the scope of our 
imited experience extends, the argument, how imdeniable 
soever, may have no practical application. It may never be 
our fortune to stand before the great machine at the moment 
when the hundred million and second term, unexpectedly 
presenting itself, indicates a departure from all former pre- 

Among the laws which we see at work, it may chance that 
we shall never observe one which some ancestor has not seen 
in operation already. Nay, that chance is a probable one. 
In other words, if a phenomenon actually present itself which 
we are tempted to regard as a violation of natural law, it is 
more likely — ^ten thousand to one — ^that a siilailar phenomenon 
has already shown itself more or less frequently in the past, 
than that it presents itself now for the first time in the 
history of our race. 

The source of our error, then, when we mistake the ex- 
traordinary for the miraculous, is far more frequently^ in 
our ignorance of what has been than in our false conceptions 
of what may be. 

The error itself, from either source arising, is a grave one, 
entailing important practical consequences, which have varied 
in their prevailing character at different periods of the world. 
In our day the usual result is incredulity, in advance of 
examination, as to all phenomena that seem, to our limited 
experience, incapable of rational explanation. One or two 
centuries ago the same error often assumed a differfet form. 

cause I am infallible, the answer cywgJit to be : "but t\nB «siwwct \^ T^fc-^^x 
given."— -It/teTWMww, 2^o. 1637, of Marcli 12, 1859, p. ^50. 


When a phenomenon presented itself to the men of that day, 
the cause of which they did not comprehend, and which 
seemed to them, for that reason, out of the course of nature, 
they were wont to take it for granted that it happened either 
through the agency of the devil, or else by special interposi- 
tion of the Deity in attestation of some contested truth. 
Thus, Racine relates what he calls the miraculous cure of 
Mademoiselle Perrier, the niece of Pascal, and then an 
inmate of the celebrated Convent of Port Royal ; and Pascal 
himself seeks to prove that this miracle was necessary to 
religion, and was performed in justification of the nims of 
that convent, ardent Jansenists, and for that reason under 
the ban of the Jesuits. La Place, treating the whole as im- 
posture, adduces it as a lamentable example — " afflicting to 
see and painful to read" — of that blind credulity which is 
sometimes the weakness of great men.* 

The truth in this case, as in many others, may rationally 
be sought between these extremes of opinion. We cannot, 

• See Introduction to his " Th^orie analytique des Probabilit^s," (7th vol. 
of his works, Paris, 1847,) p. 95. 

For the story itself the reader is referred to Racine's " Abrege de I'His- 
toire de Port Royal," Paris, 1693. The alleged miracle occurred in 1656. 
The young girl, Perrier, had been afflicted with a lachrymal fistula. To the 
diseased eye was applied a relic — said to be a thorn from the crown which 
the Jewish soldiers in mockery placed on the head of Christ. The girl 
declared that the touch had cured her. Some days afterwards she was ex- 
amined by several physicians and surgeons, who substantiated the fact of 
her cure, and expressed the opvnion that it had not been brought about by 
medical treatment, or by any natural cause. Besides this, the cure was 
attested not only by all the nuns of the convent — celebrated over Europe 
for their austerity — ^but it is farther fortified by all the proof which a mul- 
titude of witnesses of undoubted character — men of the world, as well as 
physicians — could bestow upon it. The Queen Regent of France, very much 
prejudiced against Port Royal as a nest of Jansenists, sent her own surgeon, 
M. Felix, to examine into the miracle : and he returned an absolute convert. 
So incontestable was it regarded, even by the enemies of the nuns, that it 
actually saved their establishment for a time from the ruin with which it was 
threatened by the Jesuits — ^who ultimately succeeded, however, some fifty- 
three years later, in suppressing the convent j it being closed in October, 
1709, and razed to the ground the year after. 

To Racine — writing in 1673, and therefore unacquainted with these facts — 
the argument could not occur, that God does not suffer Himself to be baffled 
by man, and that it is difficult to imagine Him interfering one day in support 
of a cause which, the next, He suffers to go down before the efforts of its 

But here we approach a subject veiled from finite gaze — the intentions of 

the Infinite. We are as little justified in asserting that Ood had no special 

purpose in permitting an extraordinary phenomenon, which to the ignorance 

of that day seemed a miracle, as in assuming to decide what that purpose 

jnajr have been. 


at this distance of time, assume to decide what the precise 
facts were; but, without impeaching the good faith of a 
crowd of respectable witnesses, we may deem it probable that 
the cure really was an extraordinary one, due, it may be, to 
the influence of the excited mind over the body, or to some 
magnetic or other occult agency hitherto unrecognised by 
science ; at aU events to some natural, though hidden, cause. 
Pascal and La Place are doubtless equally in error; the 
latter in denying that a wonderful cure was eflfected, the 
former in seeking its cause in the special intervention of a 
supernatural power ; in imagining that God had suspended 
for the occasion a great law of nature, for the purpose of 
indorsing the five propositions of Jansenius, of reprehending a 
certain religious order, and of affording a momentary triimiph 
to a few persecuted nuns. 

Similar errors have been of frequent occurrence. Perhaps 
the most striking example on record is contained in that 
extraordinary episode in the instructive history of the mental 
epidemics of Europe, the story of what have been called the 
Convulswnists of St. M^dard. It is to this that Hume* 
alludes, in a paragraph of the chapter from which I have 
already quoted, when he says : — 

" There surely never was a greater number of miracles 
ascribed to one person than those which were lately said to 
have been wrought in France upon the tomb of the Abb^ 
Pakis, the famous Jansenist, with whose sanctity the people 
were so long deluded. The curing of the sick, giving hear- 
ing to the deaf and sight to the blind, were everywhere 
talked of as the usual effects of that holy sepulchre. But, 
^hat is more extraordinary, many of the mirLles were im- 
mediately proved upon the spot, before judges of imques- 
tioned integrity, attested by witnesses of credit and distinction, 
in a learned age, and on the most eminent theatre that is 
now in the world. Nor is this all : a relation of them was 
published and dispersed everywhere ; nor were the Jesuits, 
though a learned body, supported by the civil magistrates, and 
determined enemies to those opinions in whose favour the 
miracles were said to have been wrought, ever able dis- 
tinctly to refute or detect them. Where* shall we find such 
a nimiber of circumstances agreeing to the corroboration of one 
fact ? And what have we to oppose to such a cloud of 
witnesses but the absolute impossibility or miraculous nature 
of the events which they relate? And this, surely^ ia 

54 Hume's imprudence. 

the eyes of all reasonable people, will alone be regarded as 
a sufficient refutation."* 

Hume here places himself in the category of those whom 
Arago considers deficient in prudence. He pronounces certain 
events to be impossible, because they are contrary to his 
experience. He is misled by the pretensions of those who 
relate them. The eminent magistrate to whose elaborate 
work we are indebted for a narrative of the events in question 
(Carre de Montgeron) assumes that they were brought about 
by the special intervention of God, exerted, at the interces- 
sion of the deceased Abbe, to sustain the cause of the 
Jansenist Appellants and condemn the doctrines of the bull 
Unigenitus.f Hiune cannot admit the reason or justice of 
6uch pretensions. Nor can we. But here we must dis- 
tinguish. It is one thing to refiise credit to the reality of 
the phenomena, and quite another to demur to the interpre- 
tation put upon them. We may admit the existence of 
comets, yet deny that they portend the birth or death of 
heroes. The first is a question of fact, the second only of 
inference or imagination. 

This view of the case does not appear to have suggested 
itself at the time either to friend or foe. The Jesuit inquisi- 
tors, unable to contest the facts, found nothing for it but to 
ascribe them to witchcraft and the devil. Nor did any better 
mode occur to them of refuting Montg^ron's work than to 
have it burned by the hands of the common hangman, on the 
18th of February, 1739. 

• " Hume's Essays," vol. ii. p. 133. 

t " La Verit6 des Miracles op^res par Vintercession de M. de Pdris et 
autres Appellans," par M. Carr^ de Monfcg^ron, Conseiller au Parlement de 
Paris. 3 vols. 4to: 2nd ed., Cologne, 1745. 

I copy from the advertisement, p. 5 : — " II s'agit de miracles qui prouvent 
evidemment I'existence de Dieu et sa providence, la v^rit^ du Christianisme, 
la saintete de I'eglise Catholique, et la justice de la cause des Appellans de 
la bulle Unigenitus." 

The weight of evidence brought to bear, in this extraordinary work, in 
proof of each one of the chief miracles there sought to be established, would 
be sufficient,^ in a court of justice, to convict twenty men. I doubt whether 
such an overwhelming mass of human testimony was ever before thrown 
together to sustain any class of contested £Eu;ts. 

1 had prepared, and had intended to give in the present volume, a chapter 
containing a condensed narrative of this marvellous epidemic, and the 
phenomena it brought to light ; also to devote several other chapters to the 
details of other historical episodes somewhat similar in character. But the 
subject grew under my hands to such dimensions that I was compelled to 
exclude it. 


Modem science is more discriminating. The best medical 
writers on insanity and kindred subjects, after making due 
allowance for the exaggerations incident to the heat oi con- 
troversialism, and for the inaccuracies into which an ignorance 
of physiology was sure to betray inexperienced observers, still 
find sufficient evidence remaining to prove, beyond cavil, the 
reality of certain cures, and other wonderful phenomena ex- 
hibited; but they seek the explanation of these in natural 
causes.* They do not imagine that the Deity suspended the 
laws of nature in order to disprove a papal bull ; but neither 
do they declare, with Hume, the impossibility of the facts 
claimed to be miraculous. 

A judgment similar to that which the Scottish historian, 
more than a century ago, passed on the miracles of St. Me- 
dard. is passed in our day, by a large majority of the world, 
on all alleged appearances or agencies of an ultra-mundane 
character. The common opinion is, that such things cannot 
happen except miraculously ; that is, by special intervention 
of the Deity, and a temporary suspension by Him, in favour 
of certain persons, of one or more of the laws which govern 
the imiverse. And, as they cannot believe in miracles, they 
reject, imexamined, all evidence tending to establish the 
reality of such phenomena. 

I am not here asserting that such phenomena do occur. I 
am but adducing evidence for the opinion that, if they do, 
they are as much the result of natural law as is a rainbow or 
a thunder-clap. I am seekiug to show cause to the believers 
in their existence why they should cease to attach to them 
any inkling of the supernatural. 

Ifumerous examples of these alleged phenomena will be 
found in succeeding chapters. Meanwhile, assuming for a 

* Consult, for example, Dr. Calmeil's excellent work, " De la Folie, con- 
sid^ree sons le point de vue pathologiqne, philosophiqne, historiqne, et judi- 
ciaire," 2 vols., Paris, 1845. It will be fonnd vol. ii. pp. 313 to 4()0, in the 
chapter entitled "Th^manie Extato-Convnlsive parmi les Jans&iistes," in 
which the subject is examined in detail, from a medical point of view, and 
natural explanations offered of the phenomena in question, many of which 
phenomena are of so astounding a character that Hume, ignorant as he was 
of the effects produced in somnambulism, during catalepsy and in other 
abnormal states of the human system, may well be pardoned for his incre- 

CaJmeil believes— and it seems probable enough — that these convulsions 
constituted a nervous malady of an aggravated character, probably hysteria 
complicated with ecstatic and cataleptic symptoms. He says, " Des 1732, 
Thyst^rie se oompliqua de phenomenes extatiques, de phenomeiaft^ c».\»Jiss^- 
tiformes."— Tol. ii. p. 895. 


moment the affirmative on tliis point, I might found, on mere 
general principles, an argument in connection with it. To a 
question naturally suggesting itself, namely, to what end God 
permits (if He does permit) ultra-mimdane intercourse, I 
might reply, that it is doubtless for a purpose as comprehen- 
sive as benevolent ; that we may reasonably imagine Him to 
be opening up to our race a medium of more certain know- 
ledge of another world, in order to give fresh impulse to our 
onward progress toward wisdom and goodness in this, and 
more especially to correct that absorbing worldliness, the be- 
setting sin of the present age, creeping over its civilization 
and abasing its noblest a^pimigs. And, if these be admitted 
as rational surmises, I might go on to ask how we may sup- 
pose that God would be likely to carry out such an intent ; — 
whether, after a partial and exceptional fashion, by an obtru- 
sive suspension of His own laws for the benefit of a few 
favoured children of preference, or, imder the operation of the 
universal order of nature, to the common advantage of all His 
creatures, in silent impartiality and harmony, as He causes 
the morning sun to rise and the evening dews to fall. 

I might proceed a step further, and inquire whether, if 
such an extension of our earthly horizon enter into God's 
design, it can rationally be imagined that the Great Framer 
should find His purpose thwarted by the laws Himself had 
framed ; or whether it does not fer better comport with just 
ideas of God's omnipotence and omniprescience to conclude 
that, in the original adjustment of the world's economy, such 
a contingency was foreseen and provided for, as surely as 
every other human need has been. 

Such arguments might not unfairly be made. Yet all a 
priori reasoning touching God's intentions, and the means 
we imagine He may select to effect these, seem to me 
hazarded and inconclusive. I think we do better to take 
note of God's doings than to set about conjecturing His 
thoughts, which, we are told, are not as ours. It is safer to 
reason from our experience of His works than from our con- 
ceptions of His attributes ; for these are wrapped in mystery, 
while those are spread open before us. 

I rest the case, therefore, not on the vagueness of general 
induction, but on the direct evidence of phenomena observed. 
That evidence will be adduced in its proper place. Suffice it 
for the present to express my conviction, based on experi- 
mental proof, that, if the Deity is now permitting communi- 
cation between mortel creatures in this stage of existence 

butler's and tillotson's views. 57 

and disembodied spirits in another, He is employing natural 
causes and generd laws to effect His object ; not resorting 
for that purpose to the occasional and the miraculous. 


It will be evident, to the reflecting reader, that the argu- 
ment running through the preceding chapter applies only in 
so far as we may accept the popular definition of a miracle ; 
the same adopt«i by Hume. Some able theologians have 
assumed a very different one; Butler, for example, in his 
well-known " Analogy of Beligion," in which he favours a 
view of the subject not very dissimilar to that taken by my- 
self. " There is a real cre<fibility," says he, " in the suppo- 
sition that it might be part of the origmal plan of things that 
there should be miraculous interpositions." And he leaves it 
in doubt whether we ought " to call everything in the dis- 
pensations of Providence not discoverable without Revelation, 
nor like the known course of things, miraculous." * 

Another distinguished prelate speaks more plainly still. 
In one of his sermons Archbishop Tillotson says, " It is not 
the essence of a miracle (as many have thought) that it be 
an immediate effect of the Divine Power. It is sufficient 
that it exceed any natural power that we know of to pro- 
duce it." t 

This is totaUy changing the commonly-received definition. 
If we are not to regard it as " the essence of a miracle that it 
be an immediate effect of the Divine Power " — ^if we may 
properly call any occurrence miraculous which is not " like 
the known course of things " — ^if we may declare each and 
every phenomenon a miracle which "exceeds any natural 
power that we know of to produce it " — ^then it is evident 
that the miracle of one age may be the natural event of the 
succeeding. In this sense we are living, even now, among 

Nor, if in this we follow Butler and Tillotson, are we at 
all invalidating the efficacy of the early Christian miracles. 
Their influence on the minus of men was the same whether 
they were the result of partial or of general laws. In point 
of fact, they did attract attention and add force to the teach- 
ings of a system, the innate beauty and moral grandeur of 
which was insufficient to recommend it to tne semi-barbarism 

* " Analogy of Betigion to the Constitation and Course of Nature" 

Part n., chap. 2. 

t Sermon CLXXXn. 


of the day. Whatever their character, they did their work. 
And the mistake as to that character, if mistake it is to be 
termed, may have been the very means ordained by Provi- 
dence to cherish and advance, in its infancy, a reugion of 
peace and good- will springing up in an age of war and dis- 
cord. Nor, in one sense, was the error, if as such we are to 
regard it, one of essence, but rather of manner. The signs 
and wonders which broke in upon the indifference and awoke 
the belief of Jew and Gentile, whether they were produced 
by momentary suspension of law or by its pre-ordained oper- 
ation, were equally His work from whom all law proceeds. 
And shall we appreciate God's handiwork the less because, 
in the progress of His teachings. He gradually unfolds to us 
the mode in which He moves to perform it P Then in heaven 
we should less venerate Him than upon earth. 

Is it an unreasonable surmise that it may be God's pur- 
pose to raise the veil of eighteen hundred years, in propor- 
tion as our eyes can bear the light ; in proportion as our 
minds can take in the many things which Christ taught not, 
in His day, to those who could not bear them ; in proportion 
as we are prepared to receive Christianity, for its intrinsic 
excellence and on its internal evidence, without the aid of 
extraneous warrant ? 

But I put forth these suggestions, touching, as they do on 
matters beyond our ken, incidentally and hypotheticaUy only. 
They are not essential to my argument, nor strictly included 
in its purpose ; that being to treat of modem, not of ancient, 



*< It may be said, speaking in strictness, that almost all onr knowledge 
consists of possibilities only." — La Place : Theorie des Prohdbilit^s, Intr(Kl. 
p. 1. 

In quest of truth there are two modes of proceeding : the 
one, to sit down, draw upon one's stock of preconceptions ; 
settle, before we enter upon an inquiry, what may be, or 
ought to be, or must be ; make to ourselves, in advance, what 
we call clear ideas of the naturally possible and impossible ; 
then sally forth, armed against all non-conforming novelties, 
and with a fixed purpose to waste no time in their examina- 
tion. The other plan, more modest and Baconian, is to step 
out into the world, eyes and ears open, an unpledged spec- 
tator, our fagot of opinions still unbound and incomplete ; no 
such screen as a must be set up to prevent our seeing and 
hearing whatever presents itself; no ready-made impossibi- 
lity prepared to rule out reliable testimony ; no pre-judg- 
ment barring the way against evidence for improbabilities. 

Few persons realize how arbitrary and unreliable may be 
the notions they keep on hand of the improbable. We laugh 
at Jack'g mother, who, when her sailor son sought to per- 
suade her there were flying-fish, resented the attempt as an 
insult to her understanding, but accepted, unquestioned, the 
young rogue's story about one of Pharaoh's chariot-wheels 
brought up on the anchor-fluke from the bottom of the Red 
Sea. Yet the old lady is one of a large class, numbering 
learned and lettered celebrities among its members, who have 
their flying-fish, insulting to the imderstanding, as weU as 
she. These are a frequent phenomenon within the predncts 
of scientific academies and royal institutions. 

"We forget, after a time, what have been the flying-fish of 
the past. It needs official reference to convince us now that 
for nearly half a century after Harvey's brilliant discovery 
the Paris Academy of Medicine listened to those who classed 
it among the impossibilities.* We have almost forgotten 

• In the records of the Paris Royal Society of Medicine, we read that, 
as late as the year 1672, a candidate for membership, Francois Bazin^ sought 



that, until the commenceineiit of the present century, the old 
ladies of the scientific world rejected, as resentfully as their 
prototype of the story, all allegations going to prove the 
reality of aerolites.* 

Meteoric stones and the circulation of the blood have now 
lost their piscatory character, are struck off the list of im- 
possibiKties, and inserted in the accredited catalogue of scien- 
tific truths. It used to be vulgar and ridiculous to admit 
them ; now the vulgarity and absurdity consist in denying 
their existence. 

Mesmeric phenomena, on the other hand, are an example 
of improbabilities that have not yet passed muster. 

" when I was in Paris," says Rogers (the poet), in his 
" Table-Talk," " I went to Alexis, and desired him to describe 
my house in St. James's Place. On my word, he astonished 
me ! He described most exactly the peculiarities of the stair- 
case ; said that not far from the window in the drawing-room 
there was a picture of a man in armour (the painting by 
Giorgione), and so on. Colonel Gurwood, shortly before his 
death, assured me that he was reminded by Alexis of some 
circumstances that had happened to him in Spain, and which 
he could not conceive how any human being except himself 
should know. Still, I cannot believe in clairvoyance — because 
the thing is impossible J* '\ 

to conciliate the favour of that learned body by selecting as his theme the 
vm/possihility of the circtdation of the blood (" ergo scmgmnis motus circula/ris 
impossihilis"), Harvey had given to the world his great discovery in the 
year 1628 ; but forty-four years sufficed not to procure for it the sanction of 
official medical authority in the French capital. 

• The fell of larger or smaller mineral masses, usually called meteoric 
stones, was long set down by the scientific world as among popular fables, 
notwithstanding the testimony of all antiquity in its fe.vour. Stones alleged 
to have dropped from heaven were preserved in various ancient temples, as 
at Cybele. Plutarch, in his life of Lysander, describes a celebrated aerolite 
which fell in Thrace, near the mouth of the ^gos Potamos. But these and 
a hundred other analogous cases, recorded throughout the past, failed to 
dispel scientific incredulity, until Chladni, a naturalist of Wurtemberg, 
verified the fell of a meteorite at Sienna, in Tuscany, on the 16th of June, 
1794. His report of the marvel staggered the scepticism of many. Yet it 
was not till nine years afterwards— when, to wit, on the 26th of April, 1803, 
an aerolite fell, in broad daylight at L'Aigle, in Normandy — ^that all doubt 
was removed. The Paris Academy of Sciences appointed a commission to 
institute inquiries into this case ; and their report settled the question. 
Howard, an English naturalist, afterwards prepared a list of all the aerolites 
known to have fellen on our earth up to the year 1818 ; and Chladni con- 
tinued the list to the year 1824. 

t Let us deal feirly by Science, and give her the credit of this quotation. 
I found it in the. (London) " Medical Times and Gazette," No. 444, new 
aerieg ; and iibe italics are not mine, but those of the medical editor. 


Not because the opportunities for observation were too 
few, and the experiments needed repetition : that would have 
been a valid objection. Not because the evidence was im- 
perfect and lacked confirmation: Rogers's difficulty was a 
more radical one. No evidence would suffice. Fisn cannot 
have wings : the thing is impossible. 

An example of graver character and more influential effect 
is to be foimd in a lecture, delivered in 1854, at the Royal 
Institution, before Prince Albert and a select audience, by 
England's first electrician. Rogers's flying-fish was clair- 
voyance ; Faraday's is table-moving.* 

JBut if great men fall into one extreme, let us not, for that 
reason, be betrayed into another. Let us bear in mind that, 
antecedent to siifficient proof adduced to establish them, the 
circulation of the blood, the fall of meteorites, the phenomena 
of clairvoyance, the reality of table-moving — all are, or were, 

But there are few propositions to which the common sense 
of mankind, indorsing the most accredited scientific authority, f 
assents more readily, or with greater justice, than this : that 
in proportion as an event or phenomenon is ia its nature im- 
probable is greater weight of evidence required to produce a 
rational belief in its reality. 

The converse of this proposition, it is true, has been plau- 
sibly argued, sometimes where one would least expect to find 
•an apology for credulity ; J but men have been so frequently 
deceivers, and so much more frequently themselves deceived, 
that, when their testimony is adduced to prove something of 
a marvellous and unexampled nature, every dictate of ex- 
perience warns us against its reception, except after severest 
scrutiny, or the concurrence, when that can be had, of many 
disinterested witnesses, testifying independently of each other. 

The argument, however, in regard to the weight of evidence 
which maybe procured through such concurrence of testimony 

. • Rogers evidently had never read La Place's celebrated work on Proba- 
bilities, or else he did not agree with its doctrine. Witness this passage : — 
•*It is exceedingly unphilosophical to deny magnetic phenomena merely 
becanse they are inexplicable in tho present state of our knowledge." — 
Calcul des ProhahiUt/Sy p. 348. 

It is remarkable enough that in a matter like this, nsnally deemed to 
savour of imagination, the mathematician should reprove the incredulity 
of the poet. 

t " Plus un fait est extraordinaire, plus il a besoin d'etre appuy^ de fortes 
preuves. Car ceux qui Tattestent pouvant ou tromper, ou avoir 6t6 tromp^s, 
ces deux causes sont d*autant ^lus probables que la r^alite du &it Test 
moins en elle-m^me." — La Place : T9i^(>rie omaVyUque des ProhahiUUs^ 
Introd. p. 12. 

X Aain the French Encyclopedia, article ** CerWiade?' 


to one and the same fact, has, in my judgment, sometimes 
been pushed beyond what it will bear. Where human testi- 
mony enters as an element into the calculation, its disturbing 
agency may be such as to weaken, almost to the point of over- 
throwing, the force of all strictly mathematical demonstration. 

Thus, in substance, has the argument been put.* Let us sup- 
pose two persons, A. and B., of such a character for veracity and 
clear-sightedness that the chances are that they will speak 
the truth, and will avoid being deceived, in ten cases out of 
eleven. And let us suppose that these two persons, absolutely 
imknown to and unconnected with each other, are about to 
testify in regard to any one fact. What are the chances that, 
if their testimony shall agree, the fact has happened ? 

Evidently, a himdred to one. For if their testimony agree 
and the fact has not happened, there must be a concurrent lie 
or self-deception. But as, in the first place, the chances are 
ten to one against A. lying or being deceived, and then, 
in the contingency that he should be, the chances are 
again ten to one against B. failing to relate the truth, it is 
evident that the chances against the double event are ten 
times ten (or one hundred) to one. 

Pursuing the same calculation, we find that, in the event of 
three such witnesses concurring as to the same fact, the 
chances are a thousand to one against the falsehood of their 
testimony ; if four such concur, ten thousand to one ; and so 
on. So that it requires but a small number of such witnesses* 
to establish a degree of probability which, in practice, is 
scarcely short of certainty itself. 

And, following out this principle, it will be foimd that, if 
we can but procure witnesses of such a character that it is 
more probable that their testimony is true than that it is false, 
we can always assign a sufficient number of such to establish 
the occurrence of any event or the reality of any phenomenon, 
no matter how improbable or marvellous such event or phe- 
nomenon, in itsell considered, may be. 

If the postulates be granted, these conclusions clearly 
follow ; and they have been employed by Dr. Chalmersf and 

* The reader may consult La Place's "Th^rie analytiqae des Proba- 
bilit^s," where all the calculations connected with this argiunent are given 
in detail ; or, if unprepared for the difficulties of Calculus, he will find the 
matter set out in more condensed and popular form, by Babbage, in his 
" Ninth Bridgwater Treatise, 2nd ed., pp. 124 to 131 ; and in Note E. of 
Appendix to the same work. 

The argument as above stated is put in 9 very brief and popular form ; 
and, in strictness, it might be said, somewhat badly and superficially. Space 
does not permit me to elaborate it. 
t "Evidenoea of Ohristiaii Eevelation;' Tol.i. p. 129. 


others, in treating of miracles, to illustrate the great accu- 
mulation of probability which arises from thQ concurrence of 
ind(^)endent witnesses. 

Tne difficulty lies in the postulates. It seems, at first, a 
very easy matter to find witnesses of such moderate veracity 
and intelligence that we are justified in declaring it to be 
more probable that their testimony shall be true than that it 
shall be &lse. 

As to wilful fidsehood, the matter is beyond doubt. Let 
cynicism portray the world as it will, there is &r more of 
truth than of falsehood in it. But as to freedom from self- 
deception, that is a condition much more difficult to obtain. 
It depends to a great extent upon the nature of the event 
witnessed or the phenomenon observed. 

An extreme case may assure us of this. If two independent 
witnesses of good character depose to having seen a market- 
woman coimt out six dozen eggs from a bosket which was 
evidently of capacity sufficient to contain them, we deem the 
fact sufficiently proved. But if two thousand witnesses of 
equally good character testify that they saw Signer Blitz or 
Kobert-Uoudin take that number of eggs out oi an ordinary- 
sized hat, they fail to convince us that the hat really contained 
them. We conclude that they were deceived by sleight of 

Here, therefor^, the postulates must be rejected. And, with- 
out speakingof mathematical impossibilities, in regard to which, 
of course, no imaginable number of concurrent witnesses avail 
in proof, the character of the event or phenomenon testified to 
must ever coimt for much ; and, whatever theorists may say, 
it will always greatly influence our opinion, not perhaps of 
the honesty, but of the freedom from delusion, of the tes- 
tifiers. So that, in a case where proof of some marvel is in 
question, the assumed condition, namely, that we shall find 
witnesses whom we believe more likely to speak the truth than 
to lie or be deceived, may not be capable of fulfilment. 

And the difficulty of procuring such may, under certain 
circumstances, greatly increase. There are mental as well 
as physical epidemics, and during their . prevalence men's 
minds may be so morbidly excited, and their imaginations so 
exalted, t nat entire masses may become incapacitated to serve 
as dispassionate witnesses. 

There is another consideration, noticed bv Hume in his 
chapter on Miracles, which should not be overlooked. 
" Tnough we readily reject," says he, " any feet NfVdsiJDL \a ^aai- 


usual and incredible in an ordinary degree, yet, in advancing 
fiirther, the mind observes not always the same rule." We 
sometimes accept, lie thinks, a statement made to us, for 
the very reason which should cause us to reject it ; on accoimt 
of its ultra-marveUous character. The reason is shrewdly 
assigned: — "The passion of surprise and wonder arising 
from miracles, being an agreeable emotion, gives a sensible 
tendency towards the belief of those events from which it is 
derived.''* In a word, we should be on our guard against 
that love of the marvellous which we find inherent in our 

These and similar considerations will ever weigh with the 
prudent and reflecting observer. Yet it is to be conceded, 
that the principle above referred to, of the vast accumulation 
of evidence from the concurrence of reliable witnesses, is not 
only just, mathematically considered, but, in a variety of 
cases, strictly applies in practice. 

If we find, for instance, at different periods of the world 
and in various nations, examples constantly recurring of men 
testifying to certain phenomena of the same or a similar 
character, then, though these alleged phenomena mav seem 
to us highly improbable, we are not justified in ascribing the 
concurrence of such testimony to chance. "We are not jus- 
tified in setting down the whole as idle superstition ; though 
in these modem days it is very much the fashion of the world, 
proud of having outgrown its nursery-tales, so to do. Dis- 
gusted by detecting a certain admixture of error and folly, 
we often cast aside an entire class of narrations as wholly 
baseless and absurd ; forgetting that when, at remote periods, 
at distant points, without possibility of collusion, there spring 
up, again and again, the same or similar appearances, such 
coincidence ought to suggest to us the probability that some- 
thing more enduring than delusion may be mixed in to make 
up the producing cause.f It is truth only that is tenacious of 

• " Hume's Essays," vol. ii. p. 125. 
^ t " Take any one of what are called pbptilar errors or popular supersti- 
tions, and on looking at it thoroughly we shall be sure to discover in it a 
firm, underlying stratum of truth. There may be more than we suspected 
of foUy and of fancy ; but when these are stripped off there remains quite 
enough of that stiff, unyielding material which belongs not to persons or 
periods, but is common to all ages, to puzzle the learned and silence the 
scoffer." — SUTTEB : Hmnowk MectrioUAf^ Appendix, p. vii. 
To the same effect is the expression of a celebrated French philosopher : — 
*• In every error there is a kernel of truth : let us seek to detach that 
kernel from the envelop that hides it from our eyes." — Baillt. 


life, and that rises, with recurring effort, throughout the lapse 
of ages, elastic under repression and contempt. 

Let us take, as an example, that description of popular 
stories which relate to haunted houses, the imiversal pre- 
valence of which is admitted by those who the most ridicule 
the idea that they prove anything save the folly and credulity 
of mankind.* Is it the part of philosophy contemptuously 
to ignore all evidence that may present itself in favour of the 
reality of such alleged disturbances ? 

It may be freely conceded, that for many of the stories in 
question no better foimdation can be found than those panic- 
terrors which are wont to beset the ignorant mind; that 
others, doubtless, are due to a mere spirit of mischief seeking 
to draw amusement from these very terrors ; and, finally, that 
there are instances where the mystification may have covered 
graver designs.f But because there are coimterfeits, is there 

* " Who has not either seon or heard of some house, shut up and unin- 
habitable, fallen into decay, and looking dusty and dreary, from which at 
midnight strange sounds have been heard to issue — aerial knockings, the 
rattling of chains and the groaning of perturbed spirits ? — a house that 
people have thought it unsafe to pass after dark, that has remained for years 
without a tenant, and which no tenant would occupy, even were he paid 
to do so ? There are hundreds of such houses in England at the present 
day, hundreds in France, Germany, and almost every country of Europe ; 
which are marked with the mark of fear — places for the pious to bless them- 
selves at, and ask protection from, as they pass — the abodes of ghosts and 
evil spirits. There are many such houses in London : and if any vain 
boaster of the march of intellect would but take the trouble to find them 
out and count them, he would be convinced that intellect must yet make 
some enormous strides before such old superstitions can be eradicated." — 
Mac1cay*8 Popula/r DehisionSf vol. ii., p. 113. The author does not deem the 
hypothesis that there is anything real in such phenomena worth adverting 
to, even as among possible things. 

Nor was the idea of haunted houses less commonly received in ancient 
times than among us. Plautus has a comedy entitled Mostellaaia, from a 
spectre said to have shown itself in a certain house, which on that account 
was deserted. The particular story may have been invented by the dra- 
matist ; but it suffices to indicate the antiquity of the idea. — Plcmt. Mostell., 
Act. ii., V. 67. 

t One such is related by Grarinet, in his " Histoire de la Magie en 
France" (p. 75) ; a clever trick played off by certain monks on that king 
whose piety has procured for him the title of " The 8amt." 

Having heard his confessor speak in high terms of the goodness and 
learning of the monks of St. Bruno, the king expressed a desire to found a 
community of them near Paris. Bernard de la Tour, the superior, sent six 
of the brethren; and Louis assigned to them, as residence, a handsome 
dwelling in the village of Chantilly. It so happened that from their win- 
dows they had a fine view of the old palace of Vauvert, originally erected 
for a royal residence by King Bobert, but which had been deserted for 


therefore no true coin P May there not be originals to these 
spurious copies P 

In another part of this work I shall bring up the evidences 
which present themselves to one who seriously seeks an 
answer to the above queries.* Let those whp may decide, in 
advance, that the answer is not worth seeking, be reminded 
that there are twenty allegations which are worthy to be 
examined, for every one that may be imhesitatingly received. 

Again, there is a class of phenomena, as widely spread as 
the disturbances above alluded to — ^probably somewhat allied 
to them, but more important than they — ^to which the same 
principle in regard to the concurrence of testimony in various 
ages and countries eminently applies; those strange ap- 
pearances, namely, which, for lack of a more definite term, 
may be grouped together as mesmeric. 

Without seeking, amid the obscurity of remote antiquity, 
a clue to all that we read of the so-called occult arts — as 
among the magicians of Egypt, the soothsayers and diviners 
of Judea, the sibyls and oracles of Greece and Romef — ^we 

years. The worthy monks, oblivious of the tenth commandment, may 
have thought the place would suit them ; but ashamed, probably, to make 
a formal demand of it from the king, they seem to have set their wits to 
work to procure it by stratagem. At all events, the palace of Vauvert, 
which had never laboured under any imputation against its character till 
they became its neighbours, began, almost immediately afterwards, to ac- 
quire a bad name. Frightfiil shrieks were heard to proceed thence at night ; 
blue, red, and green lights were seen to glimmer from its casements 
and then suddei^y disappear. The clanking of chains succeeded, together 
with the bowlings of persons as in great pain. Then a ghastly spectre, 
in pea-green, with long white beard and serpent's tail, appeared at the 
principal windows, shaking his fists at the paasers-by. This went on for 
months. The king, to whom of course all these wonders were duly reported, 
deplored the scandal, and sent commissioners to look into the affair. To 
these the six monks of Chantilly, indignant that the devil should play such 
pranks before their very &ices, suggested that if they could but have the 
palace as a residence they would undertake speedQy to clear it of all 
ghostly intruders. A deed, with the royal sign-manual, conveyed Vauvert 
to the monks of St. Bruno. It bears the date of 1259. From that time all 
disturbances ceased ; the green ghost, according to the creed of the pious, 
being laid to rest for ever under the waters of the Red Sea. 

Another instance, occurring in the Chateau d'Arsillier, in Picardy, will 
be found in the " Causes Cel^bres," vol. xi. p. 374 ; the bailiff having dressed 
himself up as a black phantom, with horns and tail, and guaranteed himself 
against the chance of a pistol shot by a buffalo's hide fitted tightly to his 
body. He was finally detected, and the cheat exposed. 

• See further on, under title " Disturbances popularly termed Hauntings." 

t The curious in such matters may consult the " Geschichte der Magie," 

by Dr. Josep Ennemoser, Leipzig, 1844 — of which, if he be not familiar with 

German, he will find an English translation, by William Howitt, " History of 

'M.agic" London, 1854. 


sliall find, in later times, but commencing long before the ap- 
pearance of Mesmer, a succession of phenomena, with re- 
semblance sufficient to substantiate their common origin, 
and evidently referable to the same imexplained and hidden 
causes, operating during an abnormal state of the human 
system, whence spring the various phases of somnambulism 
and other analogous manifestations, physical and mental, ob- 
served by animal magnetizers. 

Time after time throughout the psycho-medical history of 
the Middle Ages and of modem Europe — sometimes among 
Catholics, sometimes among Protestants — ^recur these singular 
episodes in the history of the human mind, usually epi- 
demical in their character while they last, each episode, 
however, independent of the others, and separated from them 
widely by time and place ; all narrated by writers who take 
the most opposite views of their nature and causes, yet all, 
no matter by whom narrated, bearing a family likeness, which 
appears the more striking the more closely they are studied. 

Examples are numerous : as the alleged obsession (1632 to 
1639) of the XJrsuline Nims of Loudim, with its sequel, in 
1642, among the Sisters of St. Elizabeth at Louviers; the 
mental aberrations of the Prophets or Shakers (Trembleurs) 
of the Cevennes (1686 to 1707) caused by the persecutions 
which followed the revocation of the Edict of Nantes ; and 
the pseudo-miracles of the Convulsionists of St. M^dard 
(1731 to 1741) at the tomb of the AhU Paris.* 

All this occurred, it wiU be observed, before the very name 
of Animal Magnetism was known, or any natural explana- 
tion of these strange manifestations was suspected ; at a time 
when their investigation was considered the province of the 
ecclesiastical tribunals, not of the medical profession or of the 
psychological inquirer. 

Also, the " Cradle of the Twin Giants — Science and History," by the Rev. 
Henry Christmas, M.A., F.R.S., F.S.A., London, 1849. 

Both are works of great research. 

* For details tonching the disturbances at Londnn, consult " La Demono- 
manie de Loudun," by La Fleche, 1634 j " Cruels Effets de la Vengeance du 
Cardinal de Bichelieu ; on, Histoire des Diables de Loudun," Amsterdam, 
1693 ; " Examen et Discussions Critiques de T Histoire des Diables de 
Loudun," by M. de la Menardaye, Paris, 1747 ; " Histoire Abreg^ de la 
Possession des Ursulines de Loudun," by the P^re Tissot, Paris, 1828. For 
those of Louviers, see " Beponse d TExamen de la Possession des Beligieuses 
de Louviers," Bouen, 1643. As to the Prophets of the Cevennes, see 
" Theatre Sacre des Cevennes," by M. Misson, London, 1707 ; " An Account 
of the French Prophets and their Pretended Inspirations," London, 1708 ; 
" Histoire des Troubles des Cevennes," by M. Court, Alais, 1819. The Yrorka 
on the St. Medard disturbances are elsewhere noticed. 


And for that very reason, inasmucli as many of the pheno- 
mena in question, and running through aknost all the above 
examples, resemble, more or less closely, others alleged to 
have been observed by modem magnetizers, the remarkable 
concurrence of testimony among the narrators in regard to 
these becomes the more convincing of the reality, in some 
shape or other, of the facts narrated. 

For, as soon as we find, in a succession of examples, a 
class of phenomena, no matter how extraordinary or inex- 
plicable they may seem, the chance of their being genuine is 
very greatly increased. A phenomenon may be deemed im- 
probable so long as it appears to be the only one of its class. 
But so soon as we have grouped aroimd it others similar in 
nature, we have brought to bear one of the strongest argu- 
ments to sustain the probability of its existence. 

But, besides the inherent probability or improbability of 
any alleged phenomenon, and besides the. general considera- 
tions, universally admitted, touching the number and concur- 
rence of witnesses, their usual character for veracity, their 
freedom from interest in what they affirm — ^besides all this, 
the manner of each individual deposition or narration has, 
very properly, much to do with the confidence we repose in 
the narrator. There is, if the testimony be oral, a look and 
an accent of truth, which inspires instinctive confidence. 
And though in a written statement simulation is easier, yet 
even in that case an air of candour, or a sense of the lack of 
it, commonly attaches so strongly to an author's writing, 
that we are enabled, if we have some experience of the 
world, to form a shrewd judgment in regard to his honesty 
of purpose. 

Modesty and moderation in narrative justly enlist our cre- 
dence. We incline to believe most that which is least arro- 
gantly asserted. Earnestness of conviction in the testifier 
is, indeed, necessary to produce a corresponding confidence 
in his audience ; but no two things are more distinct than 
earnestness and dogmatism. We lose trust in a man who, if 
you will but take his own word for it, is always in the 
right — ^who makes no calculation that is not verified, at- 
tempts no experiment that does not succeed. A partial 
failure often inspires us with more confidence than a com- 
plete success. 

If or does it materially weaken the probability of an obser- 
vation in itself reliable, that some other experimentalists in 


search of similar results have not yet obtained them. One 
successful experiment, sufficiently attested, is not to be re- 
butted by twenty unsuccessful ones. It cannot disprove 
what I have seen that others have not seen it. The condi- 
tions of success may be difficult and precarious, especially 
where living beings are the subjects of experiment. And 
even as to inanimate substances, there is not a naturalist who 
has reached at last some important discovery who may not 
have failed a hundred times on the road to it. If even 
numerous intelligent observers report imobtained results, 
their negative testimony, unless it approach universality, can 
amount to no more than an adverse presumption, and may 
only prove the rarity of the quested phenomenon.* 

if to some it seem that this remark is so evident as 
scarcely to be needed, eminent examples can be adduced to 
show that it touches upon an error to which men are suffi- 
ciently prone. 

On the 28th of February, 1826, a commission waa ap- 

Siinted from among its members by the Royal Academy of 
edicine, of Paris, to examine the subject of Animal Mag- 
netism. After an investigation running through more than 
five years, to wit, on the 21st of Jime, 1831, this commission 
reported, through their president. Dr. Husson, at great 
length, in favour of the reality of certain somnambuKc phe- 
nomena; among them, insensibility, vision with the eyes 

* In a subsequent portion of this work (on "Disturbances popularly 
termed Hauntings") wil be found a notice of Glanvil's celebrated story 
usually entitled " The Drummer of Tedworth." It attracted so much atten- 
tion at the time that the king sent some gentlemen of his court to examine 
into the matter, who spent a night in the house reputed to be haunted, but 
heard nothing ; and this has been adduced as a complete reftitation of the 
narrative. Glanvil (in the third edition of his " Sadducismus Triumphatus," 
p. 337) justly remarks thereon — 

" *Tis true, that when the gentlemen the king sent were there the house 
WBB quiet, and nothing seen or heard that night, which was confidently and 
with triumph urged by many as a confatation of the story. But *twas bad 
logic to conclude in matters of fact from a single negative, and such an one, 
against numerous afBrmatives, and so afl&rm that a thing was never done, 
because not at such a particular time, and that nobody ever saw what this 
man or that did not. By thQ same way of reasoning, I may infer that there 
were never any robberies done on Salisbury Plain, Hounslow Heath, or the 
oth^r noted places, because I have often travelled all those ways, and yet 
was never robbed : and the Spaniard inferred well that said, * There was no 
sun in England, because he had been six weeks there and never saw it.* " 

Glanvil properly reminds us that " the disturbance was not constant, but 
intermitted, sometimes several days, sometimes weeks." Under these cir- 
omnstances, it is quite evident that its non-appearance during a single night 
proves nothing. 


closed, prescience during sickness, and, in one case, percep- 
tion of the diseases of others : the report being signed una- 
nimously. Some years later, namely, on the 14th of. 
February, 1837, the same Academy appointed a second com- 
mission for the same purpose; and they, after nearly six 
months (on the 7th of August, 1837), reported, ako unani- 
mously, through their chairman. Dr. Dubois, expressing 
their conviction that not one of these phenomena had any 
foimdation except in the imagination of the observers. They 
reached this conclusion by examining two somnambules only. 

Dr. Husson, commenting before the Academy* on the con- 
clusions of this last report, truly observes that " the negative 
experiences thus obtained can never destroy the positive facts 
observed by the previous commission; since, though diame- 
trically opposed to each other, both may be equally true." f 

It is a fact, curious and worth noticmg in this connection, 
that the same dogmatic scepticism which often acts as a clog 
to advancement in knowledge may be betrayed, in certain 
contingencies, into an error the very opposite. 

For there are some men who run from the excess of un- 
belief to the extreme of credulity. Once convinced of their 
error in obstinately denying one startling fact, they inconti- 
nently admit, not that only, but twenty other allegations, 
im.challenged, in its company. They defend to the last ex- 
tremity the outer line of fortification ; but, that once forced, 
they surrender, without further effort, the entire citadel. 
"Such,'* says Buffon, "is the common tendency of the human 
mind, that when it has once been impressed by a marvellous 
object it takes pl^ure in ascribing to it properties that are 
chimerical, and often absurd.'' Against this temptation we 
should be constantly on our guard. 

There remains to be touched upon, in connection with the 
observation of phenomena in themselves improbable, a con- 
sideration of some importance. To what extent, and under 
what circumstances, is it reasonable to distrust the evidence 
of our senses P 

There are a hundred examples of the manner in which one 
or other, of our senses may, for the time, testify only to 

* Dnring their session of August 22, 1837. M. Husson's disconrse is 
reported verbatim in Bicard's " Traits da Magnetisms n-ninnft l ^ pn^cis his- 
torique," pp. 144 to 164. 

t I forget who relates the anecdote of a clown who proposed to rebnt the 
testimony of a tmstworthy gentleman, who had sworn to the nse of certain 
language, bj producing ten men to swear that they had not heard it. 


deceive us.* The most familiar, perhaps, are what are usually 
termed conjuring tricks. Those who, like myself, have sat 
through an evening with Robert-Houdin, preserve, probably, 
a vivid recollection how that wonderful artist enacted what 
seemed sheer impossibilities, before the very eyes of his mys- 
tified audience. But this was on his own theatre, with 
months or years to prepare its hidden machinery and manu- 
£su3ture its magical apparatus ; with the practice of a lifetime, 
too, to perfect his sleight of hand. There is little analogy 
between such professional performances and phenomena pre- 
senting themselves spontaneously, or at least without calcu- 
lated preparation, in the privacy of a dwelling-house, or in 
the open air, often to persons who neither expect nor desire 
them. ' 

But there suggests itself, further, the contingency of hal- 
lucination. This subject wiU be treated of in a subsequent 
chapter, t Suffice it here to say that, according to the doc- 
trine contained in the most accredited works on the subject, 
if two or more persons, using their senses independently, 
perceive, at the same time and place, the same appearance, it 
IS not hallucination ; that is to say, there is some actual foun- 
dation for it. Both may, indeed, mistake one thing for 
another ; but there is something to mistake. 

On the other hand, if but one person perceive some prodigy, 
it may be a pure hallucination only, especially if the person 
be under the influence of great agitation or of a nervous 
system unduly excited. If such a person perceive what 
others aroimd him do not, it may be taken as primd fade 
evidence that he is the subject of hallucination. Yet we can 
imagine circumstances that would rebut such a presumption. 
If, for example, it should be satisfactorily proved, in any 
given case, that a certain appearance, perceived by one wit- 

* Each sense may, in turn, 'mislead us. We are oonstantly impressed 
with the conviction that the moon just after it rises appears of a greater 
magnitude than when seen on the meridian. Yet if, by means of a frame 
with two threads of fine silk properly adjusted, we measure the moon's 
apparent magnitude on the horizon and again on the meridian, we shall find 
them the same. So of the sense of touch. If, while the eyes are dosed, 
two fingers of the same hand, being crossed, be placed on a table, and a 
single marble, or pea, be rolled between them, the impression will be that 
two marbles, or two peas, are touched. 

A popular review of the fiJlacies of the senses will be found in Lardner's 
« Museum of Science and Art," vol. i. pp. 81 to 96. 

t See Chapter I. of Book IV., "Appearances commonly called Appa- 


ness only out of many present, conveyed to that witness, with 
unmistakable accuracy, correct information touching the dis- 
tant or the future, which it was impossible by ordinary means 
to acquire, we should needs conclude that there was something • 
other than hallucination in the case. The alleged second-sight 
in Scotland, and especially in the island of Skye,* if perfectly 
authenticated in any one example where chance prediction 
or conjecture could not be imagined, would be a case in point. 
Beyond all question, however, such cases ought to be scru- 
pulously scanned. That one unlikely prediction, for instance, 
should be fulfilled, while a himdred fail, may be a rare coin- 
cidence, only, fairly to be ascribed to what we call chance. 
Cicero relates that Diagoras, when at Samothrace, being 
shown in a temple, as evidence of the power of the god 
there adored, the numerous votive offerings of those who, 
having invoked his aid, were saved from shipwreck, asked 
how many persons, notwithstanding such invocation, had 
perished. Predictions, f however, may be of such a nature, 
and so circumstantial in their details, that the probabilities 
against their accidental fulfilment suffice to preclude alto- 
gether that supposition. 

In a general way, it may be said that where a phenomenon 
observed by several persons, however extraordinary and un- 
exampled it may be, is of a plain and evident character, pal- 

* The cnriouB will find many details of the pretensions touching the 
Scottish second-sight, and particularly in the Hebrides, recorded in " De- 
scription of the Western Islands of Scotland," by M. Martin, London, 1706. 
The author regards this phenomenon as sufficiently proved, especially among 
the inhabitants of the island of Skye. He alleges that the gift of second' 
sight is usually hereditary ; that animals are wont to distinguish at the 
same time as the seer, the apparition which he alone of all the human beings 
present perceives, and to be violently affected by it. He adds that the gift 
seems endemical, since natives of Sl^e noted as seers, if they pass into a 
distant country, lose the power, but recover it as soon as they return to 
their native land. 

The subject is mentioned, also, in Dr. Johnson's *" Journey to the Western 
Islands of Scotland,'* p. 247, and in Boswell's " Journal of a Tour to the 
Hebrides with Samuel Johnson," 1785, p. 490. 

Scheffer, too, in his " History of Lapland," adduces various examples which 
he considers as indicating the existence of second-sight among the people 
of that country. But it appears to differ in its form from the second-sight 
of Scotland, and more nearly to approach somnambulism; for the seer is, 
according to Scheffer, plunged into a deep sleep, or lethargy, during which 
his prophecies are uttered. See his work translated from the original Latin 
into French by the Geographer of the King, and entitled " Histoire de La- 
ponie," Paris, 1778, voL iv. p. 107 et seq, 

t Cicero " De Naturd Deorum," lib. iii. 


pable to the senses, especially to the sight, 'we are ncrt; ju^ified 
in distrusting the evidence of sense in regard to it.* 

Suppose, lOT example,! that, sitting in one's own well- 
lighted apartment, where no concealed machinery or other 
trickery is possible, in company with three or four friends, 
all curious observers like oneself around a large centre-table, 
weighing eighty or a hundred poimds, the hands of aU present 
resting upon it, one should see and feel this table, the top 
maintaining its horizontal, rise suddenly and imexpectedly to 
the height of eight or ten inches from the floor, remain sus- 
pended in the air while one might coimt six or seven, then 
gently settle down again ; and suppose that aU the spectators 
concurred in their testimony as to this occurrence, with only 
sKght variations of opinion as to the exact number of inches 
to which the table rose, and the precise number of seconds 
during which it remained suspended : ought the witnesses of 
such a seeming temporary suspension of the law of gravitation 
to believe that their senses are playing them false ? 

Mr. Faraday says that, unless they do, they are not only 
" ignorant as respects education of the judgment," but are also 
"ignorant of their iterance. "J An educated judgment, he 
alleges, knows that " it is impossible to create force." But 
"if we could, by the fingers, draw a heavy piece of wood 
upward without effort, and then, letting it sink, could pro- 
duce, by its gravity, an effort equal to its weight, that would 

* It is the remark of a distinguished theologian, " In some circumstances 
our senses may deceive us ; but no faculty deceives us so little or so seldom ; 
and when our senses do deceive us, even that error is not to be corrected 
without the help of our senses." — TillotsoWs WorkSy Sermon XXVI. 

t The case supposed is not an imaginary one. It occurred in my apart- 
ments at Naples, on the 11th of March, 1856, and, with slight variations, on 
two subsequent occasions. I had the table and the lamp which were used 
on these occasions weighed. The weight of the former was seventy-six 
pounds and of the latter fourteen — ^together, ninety pounds. 

J The assertion occurs in Mr. Faraday's lecture at the Royal Institution, 
already referred to, delivered on the 6th of May, 1854. It may be supposed 
to embody the author's deliberate opinion, since, aiter five years, it is re- 
published by him in his " Experimental Researches in Chemistry and Phy- 
sics," London, 1859. The passage quoted, with its essential context, is as 
follows : — 

" You hear, at the present day, that some persons can place their fingers 
on a table, and then, elevating their hands, the table will rise and follow 
them ; that the piece of furniture, though heavy, will ascend, and that their 
hands bear no weight, or are not drawn down to the wood." . . " The 
assertion finds acceptance in every rank of society, and among classes that 
are esteemed to be educated. Now, what can this imply but that society, 
generaUj speaking, is not only ignorant as respects the education of the 
judgment, but is also ignorant of its ignorance ?" — p. 470. 


be a creation of power, and cannot be^* His conclusion is, 
that tables never rise. The thing is impossible. 

That is a very convenient short-cut out of a difficulty. 
The small objection is, that the facts are opposed to it. It 
i» all very weU for Mr. Faraday to bid the witnesses carry 
with them an educated judgment. The recommendation does 
not reach the case. Unless this educated judgment could 
persuade them that they did not see what they actually saw, 
and did not feel what they actually felt, it would certainly 
never convince them, as Mr. Faraday proposes it should, that 
what happened before their eyes cannot be. 

They might very properly doubt whether what they saw 
and felt was a suspension of a law universal as that of gravi- 
tation. They would do quite wrong in asserting, as Mr. 
Faraday takes it for granted they must, that " by the fingers 
they draw a heavy piece of wood upward without effort :'-t 

* Work died, p. 479. The italios are Faraday's, 

That gentleman is among the number of those who believe that " before 
we proceed to consider any question involving physical principles, we should 
set out with clear ideas of the naturally possible and impossible/' — p. 478. 
But it avails nothing to set out with what we cherish as clear ideas, if on 
the way we encounter phenomena which disprove them. Mr. Faraday is one 
of those imprudent persons spoken of by Arago. (See motto to chap. ii. 
Book I.) 

t The imposition of hands is not a necessary condition. In the dining- 
room of a French nobleman, the Count d'Ourches, residing near Paris, I 
saw, on the first day of October, 1858, in broad daylight, at the close of a 
d^ev/aer h la fov/rchette, a dinner-table seating seven persons, with fruit and 
wine on it, rise and settle down, as already described, while all the guests 
were standing around it, omd not one of them touching it at all. All present 
saw the same thing. Mr. Kyd, son of the late Greneral Kyd, of the British 
army, and his lady, told me (in Paris, in April, 1859) that in December of 
the year 1857, during an evening visit to a friend, who resided at No. 28, Rue 
de la Ferme des Mathurins, at Paris, Mrs. Kyd, seated in an arm-chair, 
suddenly felt it move, as if some one had laid hold of it from beneath. 
Then slowly and gradually it rose into the air, and remained there sus- 
pended for the spaoe of about thirty seconds, the lady's feet being four or 
five feet from the ground ; then it settled down gently and gradually, so that 
there was no shock when it reached the carpet. No one was touching the 
chair when it rose, nor did any one approach it while in the air, except Mr. 
Kyd, who, fearing an accident, advanced and touched Mrs. Kyd. The room 
was at the time brightly lighted, as a French salon usually is ; and of the 
eight or nine persons present aJl saw the same thing in the same way. I 
took notes of the above, as Mr. and Mrs. Kyd narrated to me the occur- 
rence ; and they kindly permitted, as a voucher for its truth, the use of their 

Here is no drawing up of a heavy object, without effort, with the fingers, 
the concomitamt which Mr. Faraday speaks of as indispensable. And the 
phenomenon oocnrred in a private drawing-room, among persons of high 
social position, educated and intelligent. Thousands, in the most enlightened 


that might be inistaking the post hoc for the propter hoc. 
All they would be justified in saying is, that they placed their 
hands on the table, and the table rose. 

If still Mr. Faraday should reply that it did not rise, 
because it could not, he would afford an eminent example of 
a truth as old as the days of Job, that ** great men are not 
always wise." That which does happen can happen ; and the 
endeavour by argument to persuade men to flie contrary is 
labour lost. 

I make no assertion that tables are raised by spiritual 
agency. But suppose Mr. Faraday, by disproving every other 
hypothesis, should drive one to this :* it would be much more 
pnilosophical to adopt it than to reject the clear and palpable 
evidence of sense. 

For, if we assume any other principle, all received rules of 
evidence must be set at naught ;t nay, our very lives would be 
made up of imcertainty and conjecture. We might begin to 
doubt the most common events of daily occurrence, J and per- 

oonntries of the world, can testify to the like. Are they all to be spoken 
of as " ignorant of their ignorance ?" 

* He scorns the idea. In his letter on Table-Turning, published in the 
London "Times" of June 30, 1853, he says, "The effect produced by table- 
tumera has been referred to electricky, to ma^etism, to attraction, to some 
unknown or hitherto unrecognised physical power able to affect inanimate 
bodies, to the revolution of the earth, and even to diabolical or supernatural 
agency. The natural philosopher can investigate all these supposed causes 
but the last : that must, to him, be too much connected with credulity or 
superstition to require any «ttention on his part." — Work died, p. 382. 

This is a summary and convenient disclaimer — more convenient than 
satis&ctory. Mr. Faraday thinks of ultra-mundane agency as Hume did of 
miracles, that " supported by human testimony it is more properly a subject 
of derision than of argument." The time is coming when, in this world or 
another, he may discover his mistake. 

t The reader will find in Reid's excellent work on the Mind (Essay 2, 
" Perception") some remarks much in point. He says, " No judge will ever 
suppose that witnesses may be imposed upon by trusting to their eyes and 
ears; and if sceptical counsel should plead against the testimony of 
witaiesses that they had no other evidence for what they declared but the 
testunony of their eyes and ears, and that we ought not to put so much faith 
in our senses as to deprive men of life and fortune upon their testimony, 
surely no upright judge would admit a plea of this kind. I believe no 
counsel, however sceptical, ever dared to offer such an argument ; and if it 
were offered it would be rejected with disdain." 

J The legal records of the Middle Ages furnish examples, scarcely credi- 
ble, of such scepticism. During the thousand trials for witchcraft which 
occurred in France throughout the sixteenth century, the women suspected 
were usually accused of having joined the wibches' dance at midnight under 
a blasted oak. " The husbands of several of these women (two of them were 
young and beautiful) swore positively that, at the time stated, their wives 
were csomfortably asleep in their arms ; but it was all in. '^qSsi. ^^i^svx ^^-^^ 


haps, at last, to dream, with Berkeley, that the external 
world exists only in our sensations. Indeed, if the senses of 
an entire community of men were to concur in imposing on 
them unreal sights and soimds, appearing to all the same, 
who would there be to declare it a delusion, and what means 
would remain to prove it such ? 

Nor is it irrational to trust the evidence of our senses in 
cases so marvellous that we may reject hearsay testimony of 
an ordinary character when brought to prove them. " I must 
see that to believe it,'* is often the expression of no unreason- 
able scruple.* ^ ^ 

La Place puts the case, that we should not trust the testi- 
mony of a person who would allege that, having thrown a 
himored dice into the air, they all feU with the same side up ; 
while if we saw the thing happen, and careftdly inspected 
the dice, one after the other, we should cease to doubt the fact. 
He says, " After such an examination we should no longer 
hesitate to admit it, notwithstanding its extreme improba- 
bility ; and no one would be tempted, by way of explaining 
it, to resort to the hypothesis of an illusion caused by an 
infraction of the laws of vision. Hence we may conclude 
that the probability of the constancy of natural laws is, for 
us, greater than the probability that the event referred to 
should not occur.'' 

So it may be, fairly enough, as to the phenomena witnessed 
by myself and others, to which allusion has just been made ; 
the moving, namely, without apparent physical agency, of 
tables and other material substances. These are of a cha- 
racter so extraordinary, that the evidence of testimony, 
credible though it be regarded, may bring home to the reader 
no conviction of their reality. If that should be so, he will 
but find himself in the same position in which I myself was 
before I witnessed them. Like him whom La Place supposes 
to be listening to the story of the himdred dice, I doubted 
hearsay evidence, even from persons whose testimony in any 
ordinary case I should have taken without hesitation. But 1 

was taken ; but the archbishop told them they were deceived by the devil 
and their own senses. It is tme they might have had the semblance of their 
wives in their beds, bnt the originals were for away at the devil's dance 
under the oak." — Mackcvy^s Popular' Dehisions ; chapter on the Witch-Mcmia, 
* ** I have finally settled down to the opinion that, as to phenomena of 
so extraordinary a character, one may, by dint of discussion, reach the con- 
viction that there are sufficient reasons for believing them, but that one 
really does believe them only after having seen them." — Bertrand : Traite 
du SonmcmbvMsmey p. 166. 


doubted only : I did not deny. I resolved, on the first oppor- 
tunity, to examine for myself ; and the evidence of my senses 
wrought a conviction wnich testimony had failed to produce. 
If the reader, doubting like me, but seek the same mode of 
resolving his doubts, I may have rendered him a service. Let 
him demand, like Thomas, to see and to feel ; let him inspect 
the dice one after the other ; let him avoid, as in the preced- 
ing pages I have sought to induce him, the extremes of 
creduKty and imbeKef ; but let him not imagine that the 
senses ms Creator has given him are lying witnesses, merely 
because they testify against his preconceptions. 

And thus, it may be, shall he learn a wholesome lesson ; a 
lesson of warning against that wisdom in his own conceit 
which, we are told, is more hopeless than folly itself. 

Thus, too, perhaps, he may be induced, as I was, patiently 
to listen to the testimony of others, as contained in many of 
the following pages, touching what I once considered, and 
what he may stilf consider, mere fanciful superstitions. And 
thus he may be led, as I have been, as to these strange 

fhenomena, careftdly to weigh the contending probabilities, 
assume not to have reached absolute certainty. How 
seldom, in any inquiry, is it attained ! Where the nature of 
the case admits but more or less probable deductions, it 
suj£ces to show a fail* balance of evidence in favour of the 
conclusions we infer. Nor is it unreasonable to act on such 
an inference though it fall short of infallible proof. Of all 
the varied knowledge which regulates our daily actions, how 
overwhelming a portion, as La Place reminds us, appertains, 
strictly speaking, to the various shades of the possible only ! 

And of that knowledge how much has been gradually 
drawn forth from the obscurity where for ages it lay, veilea 
by the mists of incredulity, imder the ban of the improbable ! 





" Half our days we pass in the shadow of the earth, and the brother of 
death exacteth a third part of our lives." — SiE Thomas Browne. 

If we sit down to make clear to ourselves what is, and what 
is not, marvellous — ^to define,^ with precision, the wonderful — 
we may find the task much more difficult than we apprehend. 
The extraordinary usually surprises us the most ; the ordinary 
may be not only far more worthy of our attention, but far 
more inexplicable also. 

We are accustomed to call things natural if they come 
constantly under our observation, and to imagine that that 
single word embodies a sufficient explanation of them. Yet 
there are daHy wonders, famiUar houBehold marvels, which, 
if they were not familiar, if they were not of daily recurrence, 
would not only excite our utmost astonishment, but would 
also, beyond question, provoke our incredulity. 

Every night, unless disease or strong excitement interpose, 
we become ourselves the subjects of a phenomenon which, if 
it occurred but once in a century, we should regard — ^if we 
believed it at all — as the mystery of mysteries. Every night, 
if blessed with health and tranquillity, we pass, in an un- 
conscious moment, the threshold of material existence; 
entering another world, where we see, but not with our eyes ; 
where we hear, when our ears convey no perception ; in which 
we speak, in which we are spoken to, though no sound pass 
our Hps or reach our organs of hearing. 

In that world we are excited to joy, to grief; we are 
moved to pity, we are stirred to anger ; yet these emotions 
are aroused by no objective realities. There our judgment 
is usually obscured, and our reasoning faculties are commonly 
at fault; jet the soul, as if in anticipation of the powers 


wUcli the last sleep may confer upon it, seems emancipated 
from eartMy trammels. Time has lost its landmarks. Oceans 
interpose no barrier. The past gives back its buried phantoms. 
The grave restores its dead. 

We have glimpses into that world. A portion of it is 
revealed to us dimly in the recollections of some sleeping 
thoughts. But a portion is inscrutable — ^almost as inscrutable 
as that other world beyond the tomb. 

What means have we of knowing that which passes through 
our minds in sleep ? Except through our memory, (unless, 
indeed, we are sleep-talkers, and our sleep-talking is over- 
heard,) none whatever. Sleeping thoughts not remembered 
are, for us in our waking state, as if they had never existed. 
But it is certain that many such thoughts are wholly for- 
gotten before we awake. Of this we have positive proof in 
the case of persons talking in sleep, and thus indicating the 
subject of their dreams. It constantly happens that such 
persons, interrogated as to their dreams the next morning, 
deny having had any; and even if the subject of their 
sleep-talking be suggested to them, it awakens no train of 

The question whether we ever sleep without dreaming— as 
old as the days of Aristotle — ^is equally curious . and difficult 
of solution. In support of the theory that no moment of 
sleep is void of dreaming thoughts or sensations, we have 
such names as BKppocrates, Leibnitz, Descartes, Cabanis. The 
most formidable authority on the opposite side is Locke. But 
that eminent man evidently had not before him all the phe- 
nomena necessary to affi)rd a proper imderstanding of this 
subject. His dennition of dreaming is faulty,t and the argu- 
ment with which he supports his views, namely, that " man 
cannot think at any time, waking or sleeping, without being 
sensible of it,''t evidently does not reach the case. 

Of more modem writers, Macnish and Carpenter conclude 

* Abercrombie's " Intellectual Powers," ISth ed., p. 112. 

But all physiologists ore agreed as to this phenomenon. In soiiie cases, 
however, two mental states seem to be indicated ; the memory of the dream 
being not so wholly lost that it cannot be revived, at a future time, in sleep. 

t His definition is, " Dreaming is the having of ideas, whilst the outward 
senses are stopped, not suggested by any external object or known occasion, 
nor under the rule and conduct of the understanding." 

But, while dreaming, the outward senses are, in general, only partially 
stopped J ideas are often suggested by external objects and by physical sen- 
sations ; and sometimes the understanding, instead of being dethroned, 
acquires a power and vivacity beyond what it possesses in th^ vi^kjs^ 

J " An Essaj- Concerning Human Understaadrng^** ^00^11% ^iJiosn^ \» ^."SSi* 

80 perquin's observation. 

tliat perfectly sound sleep is dreamless ; wliile Holland, Ma- 
cario, and (as far as; th^ express themselves) Abercrombie 
and Brodie, assume the opposite ground. Plausible reasons 
may be adduced for either opinion. 

Whatever be the conditions of that mysterious mechanism 
which connects the immaterial principle in man with the 
brain, this we know, that throughout waking life cerebral 
action of some kind is the necessary antecedent, or concomi- 
tant of thought. This action, in some modified form, appears 
to continue at least during those periods of sleep when there 
oc6ur dreams of such a character that they are remembered, 
or that their presence is testified by outward signs of emotion 
in the sleeper. 

Dr. Perquin, a French physician, has reported the case of 
a female, twenty- six years oi age, who had lost by disease a 
large portion oi her skull-bone and dura mater, so that a cor- 
responding portion of the brain was bare and open to inspec- 
tion. He says : " When she was in a dreamless sleep her 
brain was motionless, and lay within the cranium. When 
her sleep was imperfect, and she was agitated by dreams, 
her brain moved, and protruded without the craniimi, forming 
cerebral hernia. In vivid dreams, reported as such by herself 
the protrusion was considerable ; and when she was perfectly 
awake — especially if engaged in lively conversation — it was 
still greater. Nor did the protrusion occur in jerks alternat- 
ing with recessions, as if caused by the impulse of the arterial 
blood. It remained steady while conversation lasted."* 

Here we have three separate mental states, with the cor- 
responding cerebral action intimated, so far as external indi- 
cations are a clue to it : the waking state, in which the brain 
gives sign of full activity ; a state known to be dreaming, 
during which there is still cerebral action, but in a diminished 
iegree ; and a third state, exhibiting no outward proof of 
dreaming, nor leaving behind any remembrance of dreams, 
and during which cerebral action is no longer perceptible to 
the spectator. 

But we stretch inference too far if we assert, as some phy- 
siologists do,t that in this third state there w no cerebral 
action and there are no dreams. 

* This osae wais observed in one of the hospitals of Montpellier, in the 
year 1821. It is by no means an isolated one. Macnish quotes it in his 
" Philosophy of Sleep." 

t Carpenter (" Principles of Human Physiology," p. 634) is of opinion 
tbRt during profound sleep the cerebrum and sensory ganglia are "in a 

«» of complete fhnotioiial inactivity." 



All that we are justified in concluding is, that, during this 
period of apparent repose, cerebral action, if such continue, 
is much diminished,* and dreams, if dreams there be, are dis- 
connected, by memory or otherwise, from our waking life. 

If we push our researches further, and inquire what is the 
state of the soul, and what the conditions of its connection 
with the cerebrum, during the quiescent state, we are entering 
a field where we shall meet a thousand speculations, and per- 
haps not one reliable truth beyond the simple fact that, while 
life lasts, some connection between mind and matter must be 
maintained. We may imagine that connection to be inter- 
mediate only — ^kept up, it may be, directly with what Bich&t 
calls the system of organic life,t and only through the medium 
of that system, by anastomosis, or otherwise, with the system 
of animal life and its centre, the cerebral lobes ; or we may 
suppose the connection still to continue direct with the brain. 
All we know is that, at any moment, in healthy sleep, a soimd 
more or less loud, a touch more or less rude, suffices to restore 
the braia to complete activity, and to re-establish, if it ever 
was interrupted, its direct commimication with the mind. 

The Cartesian doctrine, that the soul never sleeps, is inca- 
pable alike of refutation and of practical application. If we 
imagine that the soul has need of rest, we must admit, as a 
corollary, that sleep is a phenomenon that will be met with in 
the next world as it is in this. If, on the other hand, we 
assert that there can be no moment in which an immortal 
spirit has not thoughts and sensations, it may be replied that 
the words thought and sensatioUy when used by human beings 
in regard to their present phase of life, properly apply only 
to mental conditions which presuppose the action of the human 
brain; and that, as to the action of the soul without the 
action of the brain, if such a state can be while the soul is 

* Cases of catalepsy, or trance, in which for days no action of the heart 
or lungs is cognizable by the senses of the most experienced physician, so 
that actual death has been supposed, are of common occurrence ; yet no on© 
concludes that, however deep the trance, the heart has ceased to beat, or the 
lungs to play. Their action is so much enfeebled as to have become imper- 
ceptible : that is all. 

t See " Recherches physiologiques sur la Vie et la Mort," par X. BichAt. 
3rd ed., Paris, 1805, p. 3. 

His division of the animal functions is into two classes : those of organic 
life and those of animal life ; the first including the frinctions of respiration, 
circulation, nutrition, secretion, absorption, the instinctive or automatic 
functions common to animal and vegetable life j the second restricted to 
animal life alone, and including the functions which connect man and animals 
with the external world— as of sensation, volition, vocal expression, and 


connected witli the body, it evinces lack of wisdom to occupy 
ourselves about it. We can predicate nothing in regard to 
it : not having in our human vocabulary even the words 
necessary to embody any conceptions of its phenomena. 

Thus, even when we admit that it is the bodily organs only, 
not the spiritual principle, that experience a sense of fatigue 
and the necessity for intermittence of action, we do not con- 
cede, by the admission, that dreams, in the proper acceptation 
of the term, pervade all sleep. 

We approach a solution more closely when we inquire 
whether, as a general rule, persons who are suddenly awak- 
ened from a profound sleep are, at the moment of awaking, 
conscious of having dreamed. But here physiologists are not 
agreed as to the facts* Locke appears to have assumed the 
negative. Macnish declares, as the result of certain experi- 
ments made on purpose, that in the majority of cases the 
sleeper retained at the moment of waking no such con- 
sciousness.* This I much doubt* It is cerSain that, unless 
such experiments are conducted with scrupulous care, the 
true results may readily escape us. If, two years ago, I had 
myself been asked whether I was in the habit of dreaming, I 
should have replied that I very rarely dreamed at all ; the 
fact being then, as it still is> that I scarcely ever have a dream 
which I remember, or could repeat, even at breakfast the next 
morning. But my attention having been recentlv attracted 
to the subject, so that I acquired the habit of taking special 
note of my sensations at the moment of awaking, I became 
aware, after repeated observations, that in every instance I 
was conscious oi having dreamed. Yet, with very few excep- 
tions, the memory of my sleeping thought was so vague and 
fugitive, that even after ten, or perhaps five, seconds, it had 
faded away, and that so completely that I found it quite im- 
possible to recall or repeat my dream. After that period I 
remembered nothing, except that I A«rf been conscious of 
having dreamed ; and, to obtain in every case the certainty 
even of this, I had to awake with the intention of making the 
observation. So exceedingly brief and shadowy and fleeting 
were these perceptions, that in the great majority of cases no 
effort I could make sufficed to arrest them. They escaped 
even at the moment I was endeavouring to stamp them on 
my memory. 

It is true that these observations were usually made at the 

* Hazlitt, in his " Round Table," alleges the contrary. 


moment of awaking, naturally, from a night's sleep, and that 
the strongest advocates of the theory of dreamless sleep (as 
Lord Brougham, in his "Discourse on Natural Theology") 
admit th^t the imperfect sleep bordering on the waking state 
is fidl of dreams. But yet the reality in connection with 
sleeping thoughts of a memory so feeble and evanescent that 
it requires an intentional effort to detect its existence, should 
induce us to receive with many scruples the assertions of those 
who declare that they have no dreams.* 

Another argument in this connection is the fact, of which 
almost every one, probably, has taken frequent note, that we 
seldom awake from brief sleep, no matter how sound and 
tranquil it may have been, without a consciousness of time 
elapsed since we fell asleep. But time, or rather himian per- 
ception of it, can exist only in connection with a series of 
thoughts or sensations. Hence the probability that such, 
even during that deep and motionless slumber, affected the 

Upon the whole, though we cannot disprove the theory 
put forth by Locke and other maintainers of dreamless sleep, 
the probabilities seem to me against it. Since nimierous 
indications assure us that in a thousand cases in which sleep 
seems dreamless, and even insensibility complete, there exists 
a constant succession of thoughts and sensations, I think 
there is sufficient reason to agree, with Brodie, that " not to 
dream seems to be not the rule, but the exception to the 
rule ;" f and, if it be, how many of the phenomena of sleep 
may have hitherto escaped our observation! How many 
more may be covered by a veil that will for ever remain 
impenetrable to mortal 6yes ! 

That large class of phenomena occurring during sleep, of 
which we retain no recollection after sleep, and which are 
thus disconnected from waking consciousness, have attracted, 
as they eminently deserve, much more attention in modem 
times, particular^ during the last seventy years, than at any 
former period. Seventy-five years ago somnambulism (artifi- 
cially induced) was unknown. But coma, somnambulism, 
trance, extasy, may be properly regarded as but phases of 
sleep; abnormal, mdeed, and therefore varying widely in 
.11 - - ■ , ■ - . - 

* Aa of a young man, mentioned by Locke (Essay on " Human Under^ 
standing," Book II. chap. i. § 14), a scholar with no bad memory, who de« 
dared that till he had a fever, in his twenty-sixth year, he had never 
dreamed in his life. 

t " Psychological Inquiries," by Sir B. Brodie, 8rd ed., ip. 14^, 


some respects from natural sleep, yet all strictly hypnotic 
states ; which we do well to study in their connection with 
each other. 

We shall find that they have much in common. The same 
insensibility which often supervenes during somnambidism 
and during coma presents itself in a degree during ordinary 
sleep. Children, especially, are often roused from sleep with 
difficulty ; and sound sleepers of adult age frequently remain 
uncoffiscious of loud noises or other serious disturbances. It 
has not unfrequently occurred to myself to hear nothing, or 
at least to retain no recollection of having heard anything, 
of a long-continued and violent thunder-storm, that dis- 
turbed and alarmed my neighbours ; and in the year 1856, 
being then in Naples, I slept quietly through an earthquake, 
the shock of which filled the streets with terrified thousands, 
imploring the compassion of the Madonna. 

Some even of the most remarkable phenomena of somnam- 
bulism and extasy appear in modified form during natural 
sleep. That exaltation of the mental powers which forms 
one of the chief features of the above-named states is to be 
met with, in numerous examples, during simple dreaming. 
We read that Cabanis, in dreams^ often saw clearly the bear- 
ings of political events which had baffled hinn when awake ; 
and that Condorcet, when engaged in some deep and compli- 
cated calculations, was frequently obliged to leave them in 
an unfinished state and retire to rest, when the results to 
which they led were unfolded to him in dreams.* Brodie 
mentions the case of a friend of his, a distinguished chemist 
and natural philosopher, who assured him that he had more 
than once contrived in a dream an a|)paratus for an experi- 
ment he proposed to make ; and that of another friend, a 
mathematician and a man of extensive general information, 
who has solved problems when asleep which baffled him in 
his waking state. The same author mentions the case of an 
acquaintance of his, a solicitor, who, being perplexed as to 
the legal management of a case, imagined, in a dream, a 
mode of proceeding which had not occurred to him when 
awake, and which he adopted with success. 

Carpenter admits that " the reasoning processes may be 
carried on during sleep with imusual vigour and success," 
and cites, as an example, the case of Condulac, who tells us 
that, when engaged in his " Cours d'Etude,'' he frequently 

* Macsniah's « Philosophy of Sleep," p. 79. 


developed a subject in his dreams which he had broken off 
before retiring to rest. Carpenter supposes this to occur " in 
consequence of the freedom from distraction resulting from 
the suspension of external influences." * 

Abercrombie, in this connection, adduces the case of Dr. 
Gregory, who had thoughts occurring to him in dreams, and 
even the very expressions in which they were conveyed, 
which appeared to him afterwards, when awake, so just in 
point of reasoning and illustration, and so happily worded, 
that he used them in his lectures and in his lucubrations. 
Even our own practical and unimaginative Franklin appears 
to have famished an example of this exaltation of the in- 
tellect during sleep. "Dr. Franklin informed Cabanis," 
says Abercrombie, " that the bearings and issue of political 
events which had puzzled him when awake were not unfre- 
quently unfolded to him in his dreams." t 

A still nearer approach to some of the phenomena of arti- 
ficial somnambulism and extasy, and to the involuntary 
writing of modem mediums, is made when the sleeping man 
produces an actual record of his dreaming thoughts. Of this 
a remarkable example is adduced by Abercrombie, in the 
case of a distinguished lawyer of the last century, in whose 
family records all the particulars are preserved. They are as 
follows : — 

" This eminent person had been consulted respecting a 
case of great importance and much difficulty, and he had 
been studying it with intense anxiety and attention. After 
several days had been occupied in this manner, he was ob- 
served by his wife to rise from his bed in the night and go 
to a writing-desk which stood in the bedroom. He then sat 
down and wrote a long paper, which he carefully put by in 
the desk, and returned to bed. The following morning he 
told his wife he had had a most interesting dream ; that he 
had dreamed of delivering a clear and luminous opinion re- 
specting a case which had exceedingly perplexed him, and 
he would give anything to recover the train of thought 
which had passed before him in his sleep. She then directed 
him to the writing-desk, where he found the opinion clearly 
and fully written out. It was afterwards found to be perfectly 
correct." J 

* " Principles of Human Physiology," p. 643. 

t Abercrombie's " Intellectual Powers," 15th ed., p. 221. 

X Abercrombie, Work cited, p. 222. 

It is scarcely necessary to remind the reader that the cases above addu.<i«id.^ 

86 carpenter's observations. 

Carpenter admits, during certain pliases of sleep, the exal- 
tation not only of the mental powers, but of the senses. 
Speaking of what Mr. Braid calls hypnotism * — ^whioh is, in 
fact, only sleep artificially induced by gazing fixedly on any 
near object — ^he mentions some cartes that have come under 
his observation, thus : — 

" The author has witnessed a case in which such an exalta- 
tion of the sense of smell was manifested, that the subject of 
it discovered, without difficulty, the owner of a glove placed 
in his hands in an assemblage of fifty or sixty persons ; and 
in the same case, as in many others, there was a similar 
exaltation of the sense of temperature. The exaltation of the 
muscular sense, by which various actions that ordinarily re- 
quire the guidance of vision are directed independently of it, 
is a phenomenon common to the mesmeric, with various other 
forms of artificial as well as natural somnambulism. 

" The author has repeatedly seen Mr. Braid's hypnotized 
subjects write with the most perfect regularity, when an 
opaque screen was interposed between their eyes and the 
paper, the lines being equidistant and parallel ; and it is not 
imcommon for the writer to carry back his pencil or pen to 
dot an i, or cross a /, or make some other correction in a 
letter or word. Mr. B. had one patient who would thus go 
back and correct with accuracy the writing on a whole sheet 
of note-paper ; but, if the paper was moved from the position 
it had previously occupied on the table, all the corrections 
were on the wrong points of the paper as regarded the actual 
place of the writiug, though on the right points as regarded 
its previous place. Sometimes, however, he would take a 
fresh departure, by feeling for the upper left-hand comer of 
the paper ; and aD. his corrections were then made in their 
right positions, notwithstanding the displacement of the 
paper." f 

though nameroas, are exceptional. As a general rule, the reasoning 
powers are enfeebled during sleep. " Sometimes," says Muller,(" Physiology," 
Baly's translation, p. 1417), "we reason more or less accurately in our 
dreams. We reflect on problems, and r^oice in their solution. But on 
awaking from such dreams the seeming reasoning is found to be no rea- 
soning at all, and the solution over which we had rejoiced to be mere 

This, also, is not without its analogy in somnambulism and eztasy. 
The opinions expressed and the statements made during these states are 
often altogether untrustworthy. 

* " Neurypnology ; or, the Bationale of Sleep," by James Braid, M.B.C.S.E., 
London, 1843. 

t " Principlea of Human Physiology," p. 646. 

daewin's theory. 87 

Again, Dr. Carpenter informs ns that when the attention of 
the patient was fixed on a certain train of thought, whatever 
happened to be-spoken in harmony with this was heard and 
appreciated ; but what had no relation to it, or was in dis- 
cordance with it, was entirely disregarded. 

What can be more completely in accordance with certain 
somnambulic phenomena, of which the existence has been 
stoutly denied, than all this P 

But a little careful search in this field may disclose to us 
points of resemblance more numerous stUl. It belongs more 
properly to the next chapter, on Dreaming, than to this, to 
inquire whether, in exceptional cases, during natural sleep, 
there do not present themselves some of me most extra- 
ordinary powers or attributes, the alleged and seldom-credited 
phenomena of somnambulism — such as clearsight (clairvoy- 
ance), far-sight (vue a distance), and even that most siyongly 
contested of all, the faculty of presentiment, the prophetic 

But there is another point of analogy, connected with the 
renovating influence of sleep, and the causes which render 
necessary to man such an intermittent action, to which it 
may be useful here to allude. 

It would be very incorrect to say that the continued exer- 
cise* of any fiinction induces fatigue, and consequently neces- 
sitates sleep. It is well known that this is true of some 
functions only. It is not true of the functions of organic 
life, the automatic or involuntary functions. We tire of 
walking, we tire of thinking, we tire of seeing or hearing, or of 
directing the attention in any way to external objects; but 
we never tire of breathing, though breathing is a more con- 
tinued action than any of these. 

This obvious fact suggested to physiologists, before Darwin's 
time, the opinion which was first prominently brought for- 
ward by that naturalist, that the essential part of sleep is tJie 
suspension of volition. And some have gone so far as to 
assert that the only source of fatigue, and therefore the sole 
necessitating cause of sleep, is the exercise of volition ; ad- 
ducing in support of this theory the observation, that when 
the muscles of an arm or a leg are contracted under the in- 
fluence of the will, jEatigue follows in a few minutes ; while 
the same contraction taking place involuntarily (as in cata- 
lepsy, whether naturally or mesmerically induced) may con- 
tinue for a long time without any fatigue whatever. 

But we cannot adopt unconditionally such an o^inioa^?dti!cL-, 


out assuming that there is no waking state in which the 
voKtion is suspended or inactive. For we know of no waking 
state, no matter how listless and purposeless, the continuance 
of which obviates the necessity, after a comparatively brief 
interval, for sleep. Nor is it true that men of strong will and 
constant activity always require more sleep than the indolent 
and infirm of purpose. Three or four hours out of the twenty- 
four are said to have sufficed, for months at a time, to Napo- 
leon, the very embodiment of energetic purpose and unceasing 
activity of volition. 

Not the less, however, must we admit the truth and im- 
portance of Darwin's remark, that the essential condition of 
sleep is the suspension of volition. And in this respect the 
resemblance is striking between sleep and the various states 
of the human system during which mesmeric and what have 
been called spiritual phenomena present themselves. The 
somnambule, the " medium," are told that the first condition 
of success in the production of the phenomena sought is, that 
the subject should remain absolutely passive ; that he should 
implicitly surrender to the action of external influences his 
will. Indeed, the sonmambule is put to sleep, if artificially, 
not the less absolutely, by the magnetizer. And when a 
medium joins a circle around the table, or engages in automatic 
writing, drowsiness, after a brief period, is usually induced. 

Upon the whole, the facts seem to justify the assertion that 
all mesmeric and so-called spiritual phenomena, so far as 
they depend on a peculiar condition of the human system, are 
more or less hypnotic in their character. To obtain a proper 
imderstanding of their true nature, and a discriminating 
appreciation of the results obtained, this should constantly be 
borne in mind. ^ 

For the rest, it may be doubted whether the popular opinion 
that it is only during sleep that there is accimiulation in the 
cerebral lobes of the nervous fluid be a correct one, and 
whether we ought to consider the expenditure of that fluid as 
restricted to the waking state. 

The better opinion appears to be that, as a general rule, 
there are, at all times, both a generation and a consumption; 
that, whether during the sleeping or waking state, that 
mysterious process which supplies renovating force to the 
human system is constantly going on — ^the supply falling 
short of the demand upon it, and therefore gradually dimin- 
ishing, during our waking hours, but exceedmg it, and there- 
fore gradually accumulatmg, during sleep. In other words, 


we may suppose the supply regular and constant, both by 
day and night, as in the case of that other automatic process, 
as little understood, of assimilation ; and the demand never 
wholly ceasing, nor ever, perhaps, perfectly regular in its 
requisitions, but intermittent as to quantity, usually every 
twenty-four hoiirs — ^making, so long as the will is in action 
and the senses are awake, its calls at such a rate as must, 
after a time, exhaust the supply ; and then again, during the 
comparative inaction of sleep, restricting these calls, so that 
the nervous fluid can increase in quantitv and a surplus accu- 
mulate before morning. 

That, in aU cases, a certain reserve fond remains is evident 
from the fact that, under circumstances of urgency, we can 
postpone sleep even for several nights. But this encroach- 
ment is usually attended with injurious results. Nor does it 
appear that the brain can be overloaded with nervous fluid, 
any more than it can be unduly deprived of it, without in- 
juiy ; for there are diseases induced by excessive sleep. 

it woidd seem, also, that the brain can only deal out its 
su^ly of nervous force at a certain rate. 

For an exercise of violent volition is commonly succeeded, 
after a brief period, by exhaustion ; and rest (which is a very 
different thing from sleep, being only a cessation from active 
exertion) becomes necessary before a second such call on the 
nervous reservoir can be made. 

How that reservoir is supplied — ^by.what precise process 
there is generated in the cerebrum that store of fluid or force, 
^he most wonderftd of all the imponderables, without which, 
in the human system, there would be neither exercise of 
volition nor any outward sign of intelligence ; whether this 
mysterious agent is, after all, but a modification of that pro- 
teus-showing fluid, the electrical, or, if not electrical, whether 
it may not be of electroid character — ^these various questions 
how shall we determine P — ^we who, after the lapse of twenty- 
five centuries since Thales's first observation on a bit of 
amber, can scarcely tell, when we speak of positive and 
negative electricity, which hypothesis is the more correct — 
that of a single agent, now in excess, now in deficiency, or 
that of two electricities, the vitreous and the resinous ; we 
who, indeed, have but learned enough to become conscious 
that this very agency itself, called by us electrical, must yet 
be spoken of as unJaiown — ^unknown in its essence, albeit 
observed, by thousands of naturalists, in some of its effects.* 

* A few ye&ra since, at the meeting of the British AsBOci&UoTL tsst >3aa 


Intelligent physiologists and jpsycliologists, it is true, have 
speculated on this subject ; Sir Benjamin Brodie, for. example. 
Speaking of the changes which the nervous system inay be sup- 
posed to undergo in connection with mental processes, and in 
reply to the questions, " Are these simply mechanical P or do 
they resemble the chemical changes in inorganic matter ? or 
do they not rather belong to that class of phenomena which 
we refer to imponderable agents, such as electricity and mag- 
netism?'' he says, "The transmission of impressions from 
one part of the nervous system to another, or from the 
nervous system to the muscular and glandular structures, has 
a nearer resemblance to the effects produced by the impon- 
derable agents alluded to than to anything else. It seems 
very probable, indeed, that the nervous force is some modifi- 
cation of that force which produces the phenomena of 
electricity and magnetism ; and I have already ventured to 
compare the generation of it by the action of the oxyge- 
nized blood on the gray substance of the brain and spinal 
cord, to the production of the electric force by the action of 
the acid solution on the metallic plates in the cells of a 
voltaic battery."* 

Such a view may assist our insufficient conceptions ; yet, in 
all reasonable probability, when we Kken the nervous force or 
fluid to electricity, and the action of the cerebrum to that of 
an electric or galvanic apparatus, the comparison should be 
imderstood as illusti»,tive and approximating — ^as embodying 
only an adimibration of the truth — not as indicating a close 
resemblance, still less a strict and positive identity of action. 

That, in some way or other, the blood is an agent in the 
generation of the nervous force, can scarcely be doubted. Sir 

Adyanoement of Science, held at Swanseai a discussion having arisen as to 
the essence or nature of electricity, and an appeal having been made to 
Faraday for his opinion on the subject, what cQd he, the first electrician 
perhaps of the age, reply ? " There was a time when I thought I* knew 
something about the matter ; but the longer I live and the more carefully I 
study the subject, the more convinced I am of my total ignorance of the 
nature of electricity." — Quoted by Bdkewellf in his " Electric Science^* p. 99. 

" Some of the conditions which we call the Ioavs of electricity and of 
magnetism are known. These may not improperly be viewed as their 
habits or modes of action — the ways in which they manifest themselves to 
some of our senses. But of what they consist, whether they possess proper- 
ties peculiar to themselves and independent of the ponderable substances 
with which we have always found them associated, or in what respects 
they differ from light and heat and from each other, is beyond the range 
of our experience and, probably, of our comprehension." — Ratter's Hwmam 
Electricity f pp. 47, 48. 

* "Psychological Inquiries," by Sir Bei\jainin Brodie, London, 1856, 
- ' ••--' vp, 158,159. 


Henry Holland, speaking of the intimate relations between 
the nervous and yascular systems, and the obvious structural 
ocmnection of the nerves and blood-vessels, adds, "We 
cannot designate a single part in the whole economy of 
animal life in which we do not find these two great powers 
conjointly concerned — ^their co-operation so essential that no 
single fimction can be perfectly performed' without it. The 
Uood and the nervous force, so &,r as we know, are the only 
agents which actually pervade the body throughout; the 
connection of the machinery by which they are conveyed 
becoming closer in proportion as we get nearer to the ultimate 
limits of observation. . Besides those results of their co- 
operation which have regard to the numerous other objects 
imd phenomena of life, we cannot doubt the existence of 
a reciprocal action upon each other, necessary to the 
maintenance and completeness of their respective powers." 
" We cannot, indeed, follow, with any clear under- 
standing, the notion of the nervous element as evolved by 
the action of the blood, or as actually derived from the blood, 
and depending for its maintenance and energy on the condi- 
tionfi of this fluid. Yet we can hardly doubt that mutual 
actions and relations of some such nature really exist. Evi- 
dence to this effect is furnished, directly or indirectly, by all 
the natural phenomena of health, and even more remarkably 
by the results of disorder and disease. The whole inquiry is 
of singular importance to the physiology of animal life."* 

Talang into view the above remarks, and assuming Brodie's 
suggestion as to the electroid character of the nervous 
element — ^bearing in mind, too, that hoematin, one of the 
constituents of the blood, has seven or eight per cent, of 
iron, while other portions contain, in smaller quantities, other 
metals, and that, in consequence, we have an electroid force 
or agent brought into intimate relation with a metaUbearing 
fluid, a condition that may be supposed favourable to some- 
thing resembling electro-cnemical action — ^have we not a hint 
as to the manner in which (to borrow analogous terms in 
default of accurate ones) the cerebral battery may possibly be 
charged P 

How closely, when we touch on such topics, are we ap- 
the confines of human knowledge ! A step or two 

further in 

her in this direction we may, indeed, some day advance ; 

* " Chapters on Mental Physiology," by Sir Henry Holland, M.D., Lon- 
ion, 1852. 


but what tlienp "The chain of our knowledge," says 
BerzeUus, " ends ever at last in a link unknown." K even 
we could discover how this battery is charged, a deeper 
mystery remains still veiled ; the manner, namely, in which 
the spiritual principle within us avails itself of this wonderful 
mechanism to produce motion and direct thought. 

And another inquiry, more immediately connecting the 
foregoing digression with the subject of this chapter, may be 
mooted here — ^an inquiry which some will dismiss as unworthy 
even to be entertained, but which, nevertheless, is justified, 
in my eyes, by its connection with certain psychological 
phenomena to be presented in subsequent portions of this 
volume ; the inquiry, namely, whether, in certain exceptional 
conditions of the human system, as occasionally during Yearns, 
or imder other circumstances when the win is surrendered, 
some immaterial principle or occult intelligence other than our 
own may not, for a time and to a certain extent, possess itself 
of the power to employ the cerebral mechanism so as to 
suggest or inspire thoughts and feelings which, though in one 
sense our own, yet come to us from a foreign source. 

Such a hypothesis, though adopted at the present day by 
not a few sensible men, may, I well know, startle as incre- 
dible the majority of my readers. I remind them that the 
first question is, not whether it be true, but whether it be 
worth examining. " In the infancy of a science," says 
Brewster, "there is no speculation so worthless as not to 
merit examination. The most remote and fancifiil explana- 
tions of facts have often been foimd the true ones ; and 
opinions which have in one century been objects of ridicule 
have in the next been admitted among the elements of our 

If still there be among my readers those who are disposed 
to reject at the threshold the inquiry in question, as savouring 
of superstition, I pray them to postpone decision in regard to 
it imtil they shall have read the chapters which follow, 
especially the next, treating a subject which it is difficult to 
disconnect from that of sleep in the abstract ; the subject, 
namely, of dreams. 

* " The Martyrs of Science," by Sir David Brewster, 3rd ed., Londoc, 
1856, p. 219. 



** In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth npon men ; 
in slnmberings npon the bed ; then Grod openeth the ears of men, and seal- 
eth their instmction." — Job xzxiii. 14. 

Modern writers on the phenomena of sleep usually concur in 
the assertion that man's sleeping thoughts are meaningless 
and inconsequent, and that dreams are, therefore, imtrust- 

Such was not the opinion of our ancestors, especially in 
remote times. They attached great importance to dreams 
and their interpretation. They had resort to them for guid- 
ance in cases of difficulty or of great calamity. Thus, when 
Sistilence spread among the Grecian host before Troy, 
omer represents Achilles as proposing that method of ascer- 
taining the cause of what was regarded as an evidence of the 
anger of the gods ; and his reason for the proposal is — 

"For dreams descend from. Jove."* 

Aristotle, Plato, Zeno, Pythagoras, Socrates, Xenophon, 
Sophocles, have all expressed, more or less distinctly, their 
beuef in the Divine or prophetic character of dreams. And 
even some of the ancient philosophers who denied all other 
kinds of divination, as some distinguished Peripatetics, ad- 
mitted those which proceeded from frenzy and from dreams, f 

It does not appear, however, that any of these philosophers 

* Homer* 8 Biad, Book I. line 85 of Pope's translation. 

t Cicero " De Divinatione," lib. i. § 3. See also § 25 et mq. 

The analogy between dreams and insanity has been often noticed. Aris- 
totle had already surmised that the same cause which, in certain diseases, 
produces deception of the waking senses, is the origiQ of dreams in sleep. 
Brierre de Boismont remarks that waking hallucinations differ chiefly from 
dreams in their greater vivacity. Macario considers what he calls sensorial 
dreams as almost identical with hallucination. Holland says that the re- 
lations and resemblances of dreaming and insanity are well deserving of 
notice, and adds, " A dream put into action might become madness, in one 
or other of its frequent forms ; and, conversely, insanity may often be called 
a waking and active dream." — Cha/pters on Mental Fhyaiology, p. 110. 
Abercrombie declares that "there is a remarkable analogy between the 
mental phenomena in insanity and in dreaming." — Intellecimal Powers^ 
p. 240. 


went so far as to claim for all dreams a diviniB or reliable 
character. Many proceeded from the ivory ^te. It was 
usually the vision of some seer, or augur, or pnestess, occur- 
ring within sacred or consecrated ground, to the warnings of 
which implicit faith was attached. Plato, however, seems to 
intimate that all dreams might be trusted if men would only 
bring their bodies into such a state, before going to sleep, as 
to leave nothing that might occasion error or perturbation in 
their dreams.* 

Aristotle — ^whose works, like Bacon's, may be said to have 
marked out the limits of the knowledge of his day — restricts 
to certain favoured individuals this faculty of prescience. 
His expression, literally translated, is, "And that, as to 
some persons, prophecy occurs in dreams, is not to be dis- 
beheved." f 

That the modem opinion as to the fantastic and imagina- 
tive character of dreams is, in the main, correct ; that, when 
the senses are overcome by slimiber, the judgment also, as a 
general rule, is either entirely in abeyance, or only partially 
and very obscurely active ; these are facts so readily ascer- 
tained, usually by a little accurate observation of our own 
nightly sensations, as to be beyond reasonable doubt. J Whe- 
ther for the notions of the ancients touching the higher cha- 
racter of some dreams there be not, in exceptional cases, suffi- 
cient warrant, is a much more difficult question.§ 

* Quoted by Cicero, " De Divinatione," lib. i. §§ 29, 30. 

t " De Divinatione et Somniis," cap. i. 

X A. disregard of these truths has led to fatal results. Aubrey, who will 
not be suspected of trusting too little to dreams, personally vouches, as will 
be observed, for the following : — 

" Mrs. CI , of S , in the county of S , had a beloved daughter, 

who had been a long time ill and received no benefit from her physicians. 
She dreamed that a friend of hers, deceased, told her that if she gave her 
daughter a drench of yew pounded she would recover. She gave her the 
drench, and it killed her. Whereupon she grew almost distracted : her 
chambermaid, to compliment her and mitigate her grief, said, surely that 
could not kill her ; — she would adventure to take the same herself. She did 
so, and died also. This was about the year 1670 or 1671. 1 knew the 
fiumily.** — Aubrey*8 Miscellcmies, Chapter on DrewmSy p. 64 of Bussell Smith's 

§ Such ideas are by no means confined to the ancients, but are to be found 
scattered through writings of repute in all ages. Here is an example .* — 

" That there are demoniacal dreams we have little reason to doubt. Why 
may there not be angelical P If there be guardian spirits, they may not be 
inactively about us in sleep, but may sometimes order our dreams ; and 
many strange hints, instigations, and discourses, which are so amazing unto 
us, may arise from such foundations." — Sie Thomas Browne : Chapter on Sleep, 


Certain it is that the framework of many dreams is made 
up of suggestions derived from waking ideas or desires that 
have preceded them, or from occurrences that happen during 
their continuance and are partially perceived by the sleep- 
bound senses. 

The ruling passion of a man's life is not unlikely to shape 
itseK into breams. The constant thought of the day may 
encroach on the quiet of the night. Thus, Columbus dreamed 
that a voice said to him, " God will give thee the keys of the 
gates of the ocean." * And thus any earnest longing, expe- 
rienced when we compose ourselves to sleep, may pass over 
into our sleeping consciousness, and be reproduced, perhaps, 
in some happy delusion. As true to nature as gracefiil in 
art is that beautiful vision of home and its joys, described by 
the poet as occurring, after the Jbattle, to the war-worn 
soldier : — 

" When sentinel stars set their watch in the sky, 
When thonsands had snnk on the gronnd overpowered, 
The weary to sleep, and the wounded to die." 

But it is worthy of remark that it is not alone dominant 
emotions, not mental impressions of a vivid character only, 
that become suggestive of dreams. Trifling occurrences, that 
have passed from our recollection before composing ourselves 
to rest, are sometimes incorporated into the visions of the 
night that succeeds. I find an example in my journal, under 
date Naples, May 12, 1857 : — 

" Last evening my servant informed me that a house,, the 
second from that which I inhabit, and lust across a garden 
on which the windows of my apartments open, was on fire, 
and that the furniture of several rooms was burning. As, 
however, the fire did not reach the outside walls, and as, 
during my four years' residence in Naples, where all build- 
ings are fire-proof, I had never, heard of such a thing as a 
house burning down, I gave myself little imeasiness about it. 
Later I learned that the fire had been subdued ; and before 
I went to sleep the circumstance had ceased to occupy my 

" Nevertheless, I had the following dream. I thought I 
was travermng a small town, in whicb a house was on fire. 
Thence I passed out into the open country, and arrived at a 
point where I had a view over a valley through which a river 
ran ; and on the banks of that river were several large build- 

* Hnmboldt*a " Cosmos," vol. i. p. 316. 


ings. Of these I observed that two, at some distance from 
each other, were in flames. The sight instantly suggested 
to me the idea that the fires must be the work of incen- 
diaries ; since (it was thus I argued in my sleep) it was not 
Kkely that three buildings, quite disconnected, yet within a 
short distance of each other, should be on fire by mere acci- 
dent at the same time. * Is it some riot or revolution that is 
commencing ?* was my next thought. And, in my dream, 
I heard several shots, as from different parts of the country, 
confirming (possibly creating) my idea of a popular disturb- 
ance. At this pomt I awoke, and, after listening a few 
moments, became aware that some persons were letting off 
fire-crackers in the street — ^a common Neapolitan amuse- 

The causes predisposing to such a dream are evident. I 
had heard, a short time before going to rest, of a house on 
fire ; and the idea, in a modified form, was continued in my 
sleep. I was in a country where one lives amid daily 
rumours of a revolutionary outbreak ; hence, probably, the 
suggestion as to the cause of the fires. This received confir- 
mation from the actual detonation of the fire-crackers, which my 
dreaming fancy construed into a succession of musket-shots. 

It is to be remarked, however, that these suggestive cir- 
cumstances were by no means of a character to make much 
impression on my waking thoughts. I was not under the 
slightest apprehension about the fire ; and I had lived so long 
amid daily reports of an impending revolution that I had 
ceased to ascribe to them any credit or probability. The 
inference seems to be, that even feeble waking impressions 
mav become incentives to dreams. 

Occasionally it has been found that dreams may be actually 
framed by the suggestions of those who surround the bed of 
the sleepmg man. A remarkable example in the case of a 
British officer is given by Dr. Abercrombie, in which " they 
could produce in him any kind of dream by whispering in 
his ear, especially if this was done by a friend with whose 
voice he was familiar."* In this way they conducted him 
through the whole course of a quarrel, which ended in a 
duel ; and finally, a pistol being placed in his hand, he dis^ 
charged it, and was awakened by the report. Similar exam- 
ples have been elsewhere noticed, as one of a medical student, 
given by SmeUie, in his "Natural History;" and another, 


* " Intellectual Powers," pp. 202, 203. 


mentioned by Dr. Beattie, of a inan in whose case any kind 
of dream coidd be induced by his friends gently speaking in 
his presence on the particular subject thqr wished him to 
dream about. 

The same power seems, at times, to be exercised by a mag- 
netizer over one whom he has been in the habit of mag- 
netizing. Foissac relates of his somnambule, Mademoiselle 
Coeline, that, in her natural sleep, he could not only lead her 
on to dream whatever he pleased, but also cause her to 
remember the dream when she awoke jfrom it.* In the case 
mentioned by Abercrombie, the subject preserved no distinct 
recollection of what he had dreamed. 

There is another remarkable phenomenon connected with 
the suggestion of dreams, which is well worth noticing. It 
would seem that as, in what Braid calls the hypnotic condi- 
tion, there is sometimes an exaltation of the intellect and of 
the senses, so in dreams there is occasionally a sort of refresh- 
ening and brightening of the memory. Brodie gives an 
example from ms own experience. He says, " On one occa- 
sion I imagined I was a boy again, and that I was repeating 
to another boy a tale with which I had been familiar at that 
period of my life, though I had never read it nor thought of 
it since. I awoke, and repeated it to myself at the time,- as I 
believe, accurately enough ; but on the following day I had 
forgotten it again." When, therefore, in sleep something is 
recalled to us which in our waking state we had forgotten, 
we ought not, on that account, to conclude that there is any- 
thing more mysterious about it than there is in many other 
familiar, if unexplained, operations of the mind. 

* " Rapports et Discussions,** Paris, 1833, p. 438. In actual somnam- 
balism artificially induced, this power of suggestion is more frequent and 
more marked. Dr. Macario, in his work on Sleep, relates a striking example, 
as having occurred in his presence. It was in the case of a certain patient 
of a friend of his. Dr. Gromier — a married lady, subject to hysterical affec- 
tions. Finding her one day a prey to settled melancholy, he imagined the 
following plan to dissipate it. Having cast her into a magnetic sleep, he 
said to her, mentally, " Why do you lose hope ? You are pious : the Holy 
Virgin will come to your assistance : be sure of it." Then he called up in 
his mind a vision, in which he pictured the ceiling of the chamber removed, 
groups of cherubims at the comers, and the Virgin, in a blaze of glory, 
descending in the midst. Suddenly the somnambule was affected with 
extasy, sunk on her knees, and exclaimed, in a transport of joy, " Ah my 
God ! So long — so very long — I have prayed to the Holy Virgin j and now, 
for the first time, she comes to my aid !" 

I adduce this example in evidence how closely the phenomena of natural 
sleep and artificial somnambulism sometimes approach each other. It may 
afford a due^ also^ to the true origin of man^ extatic ^svot\&. 


We should be on our guard, also, against another class of 
dreams, sometimes spiritually interpreted, which lie open to 
the hypothesis that they may have been the result of earnest 
longinff and expectation in the dreamer. Such an one is 
given m the biography of William Smellie, author of the 
" Philosophy of Natural History." Intimately acquainted 
with the Ilev. William Greenlaw, they had entered into a 
solemn compact, in writing, signed with their blood, that 
whoever died first should return, if possible, and testify to 
the survivor. regarding the world of spirits; but if the de- 
ceased did not appear within a year after the day of his 
death, it was to be concluded that he could not return. 
Gfreenlaw died on the 26th of June, 1774. As the first anni- 
versary of his death approached and he had made no sign, 
Smellie became extremely anxious, and even lost rest during 
several successive nights, in expectation of the re-appearance 
of his friend. ^ At last, fatigued with watching, and having 
fallen asleep in his arm-chair, Greenlaw appeared to him, 
stating that he was now in another and a better world, from 
which he had found great difficulty in communicating with 
the friend he had left behind, and adding, as to that world, 
that "the hopes and wishes of its inhabitants were by no 
means satisfied, for, like those of the lower world, they still 
looked forward in the hope of eventually reaching a still 
happier state of existence." * 

llose who believe that they have sufficient evidence, in 
other examples, of the reality of such re-visitings, will pro- 
bably conclude, as the biographer states Smellie himself to 
have believed even to the day of his death, that his friend 
Greenlaw had actually appeared to him; but it is evident 
that a different interpretation may be put on the incident ; 
for it is clearly supposable, in this case, as in that of the war- 
worn soldier in Campbell's ballad, that the longing of the day 
may have engendered the vision of the night. 

But while we admit, what the facts abundantly prove, that, 
in a great majority of instances, dreams are, or may be, 
either the breaking forth in sleep of a strong desire, or the 
offspring of fancy running riot beyond the control of the 
judgment, or else the result of suggestion, sometimes direct 
and intentional, more frequentlv proceeding, apparently by 
accident, from antecedent thougnts or emotions, there remain 

* " Memoirs of the Life, Writings, and Correspondence of William Smellie, 
FM,8. and F,A,8.," bj Robert Kerr, F.R.S., Edinburgh, 1811, p, 187. 


to be dealt with certain exceptional cases, which do not seem 
to be properly included in any of the above categories. To 
judge understandirigly of these, it behoves us to examine 
them somewhat in detail. 

We may dispose, preliminarily, of one class, as evidejitly 
susceptible of simple and natural explanation ; those, 
namely, which, more or less distinctly, bring about their own 

Such, for example, is an old story, mentioned by several 
Italian authors, of a merchant, travelling between Rome and 
Sienna, who dreamed that he was murdered on the road. His 
host, to whom he told his dream, advised bi'm to pray and 
confess. He did so, and was afterwards assassinate on the 
w;ay by the very priest to whom, in confession, he had conmiu- 
nicated the knowledge of his wealth and his apprehensions. 

A case of similar charax^ter, occurring a few years since 
near Hamburg, was given at the time hi the newspapers of 
the day. The apprentice of a certain locksmith of that city, 
named Claude SoUer, one day informed his master that the 
night before he had dreamed that he had been murdered on 
the road between Hamburg and BergsdorflF. His master 
laughingly told him he had just then a hundred and forty rix- 
dollars to send to his brother-in-law in Bergsdorff ; and, to 
prove to him how ridiculous it was to believe in such omens, 
he (the apprentice) shouljd be the bearer of it. The yoimg 
man, after vainly remonstrating, was compelled to set out, 
which he did, about eleven o'clock in the day. Arrived half- 
way, at the village of Billwaerder, and recollecting, with 
terror, the particulars of his dream, he called upon the baillie 
of the village, found him engaged with some workmen, related 
to him, in their presence, his dream, mentioned the sirni of 
money he had with him, and begged that some one might be 
allowed to accompany him through a small wood that lay in 
his way. The baillie, smiling at his fears, bade one of the 
workmen go with bim as he desired. The next day the body 
of the apprentice was found, his throat cut, and a bloody 
reaping-hook near the body. It was afterwards proved that 
the man who accompanied him had used that very reaping- 
hook some time before, to cut willows. He was apprehended, 
confessed his crime, and declared that it was the recital of the 
dream which had prompted him to its commission. 

In some cases the connection between the influence of the 
dream and its fulfilment, though we may admit its possibility, 
is not so clearly made out. A romantic exaacogVfe — ^^l^m:^ 


authenticated, however — ^I here translate from Macario's work 
on " Sleep." 


In a small town of Central France, Charit^-sur-Loire, in 
the Department of Nievre, there lived a young girl, of humble 
rank, being the daughter of a baker, but remarkable for her 
grace and beauty. There were several aspirants for her hand, 
of whom one, on account of his fortune, was favoured by her 
parents. The girl, however, not liking him, rejected his pro- 
posals of marriage. The parents insisted ; and finally the 
daughter, pressed by their importunities, repaired to the 
church, prostrated herself before the image of the Virgin, 
and earnestly prayed for counsel and guidance in the choice 
of a husband. 

The following night she dreamed that there passed before 
her a young man, in a traveller's dress, with spectacles, and 
wearing a large straw hat ; and a voice from within seemed 
to tell her that he was to be her husband. As soon as she 
awoke, she sought her parents, told them respectftdly, but 
firmly, that she had positively decided not to accept the man of 
their choice ; and from thenceforward they no longer pressed 
the matter. 

Some time afterwards, at a village ball, she recognised the 
young traveller, just as he had appeared in her dream. She 
blushed. He was attracted by her appearance, fell in love, as 
the phrase is, at first sight, and after a brief interval they 
were married. Her husband is M. Emile de la B^doUiere, 
one of the editors of the Paris journal, the " Siecle ;" and, in a 
letter to Dr. Macario, dated Paris, 13th December, 1854, he 
certifies to the accuracy, in every particular, of the above 
relation, adding other details. He states that it was at a sub- 
scription ball, held in August, 1833, at the house of a man 
named Jacquemart, which he visited in company with his 
friend, Eugene Lafaure, that he first saw his future wife, 
Angele Bobin ; that her emotion on seeing him was apparent, 
and that he ascertained from the lady, at whose pension the 
yoimg girl then was. Mademoiselle Porcerat by name, that 
she who afterwards became Madame de la BMolli^re had 
given to her teacher, long before his own accidental appear- 
ance for the first time at La Charity, an accurate description 
of his person aad dress.* 

* ** Da Sommeil, des B^ves, et da Sonmambalismej'' by Dr. Ma«cario, Ex- 
Deputy of the i^ardinian Parliament, Lyons, 1857, pp. 80, 81. 


In this case, though the coincidence seems remarkable, we 
may, as to the matter of personal resemblance, allow something 
to chance, and something to latitude of imagination, in an en- 
thusiastic young girl. For the rest, the conscious blush of a 
village beauty was sufficient to attract the attention and interest 
the heart of a young traveller, perhaps of ardent and impressible 
temperament. It would be presumptuous positively to assert 
that these considerations furnish the true explanation. But 
the possibility is to be conceded that they may do so. 

So in another case, the dream or vision of Sir Charles Lee's 
daughter, in which, however, it was death, not majmage, that 
was foreshadowed. Though it occurred nearly two himdred 
years ago, it is very well authenticated, having been related 
by Sir Charles Lee himself to the Bishop of Gloucester, and 
by the Bishop of Gloucester to Beaumont, who published it, 
soon after he heard it, in a postscript to his well-known 
" Treatise of Spirits." Thence I transcribe it. 


** Having latelv had the honour to hear a relation of an 
apparition from the Lord Bishop of Gloucester, and it being 
too late for me to insert it in its proper place in this book, I 
give it you here by way of postscript, as follows : — 

" Sir Charles Lee, by his first lady, had only one daughter, 
of which she died in childbirth ; and, when she was dead, her 
sister, the Lady Everard, desir'd to have the education of the 
child; and she was by heir very well educated tiU she was 
marriageable ; and a match was concluded for her with Sir 
William Perkins, but was then prevented in an extraordinary 
manner. Upon a Thursday night, she, thinking she saw a 
light in her chamber after she was in bed, knock'd for her 
maid, who presently came to her ; and she asked why she left 
a candle burning in her chamber. The maid said she left 
none, and there was none but what she brought with her at 
that time. Then she said it was the fire ; but that, her maid 
told her, was quite out, and said she believed it was only a 
dream ; whereupon she said it might be so, and compos'd 
herself again to sleep. But about two of the clock she was 
awaken'd again, and saw the apparition of a little woman 
between her curtain and her pillow, who told her she was her 
mother, that she was happy, and that by twelve o'clock that 
day she should be with her. Whereupon she knock'd again 
for her maid, called for her clothes, and, when she was dress'd, 
went into her closet, and came not out agam \ifi!l im^^^ «xA 
then brought out with her a letter aealeA. to \i«t i^Ss^^^ 


brought it to her aunt, the Lady Everard, told her what had 
happened, and desired that, as soon as she was dead, it might 
be sent to him. But the lady thought she was suddenly 
fall'n mad, and thereupon sent presently away to Chelmsford 
for a physician and surgeon, who both came immediately ; 
but the physician could discern no indication of what the 
lady imagined, or of any indisposition of her body. Not- 
witnstanding, the lady would needs have her let blood, which 
was done accordingly. And when the young woman had 
patiently let them do what they would with her, she desir'd 
that the chaplain might be call'd to read prayers ; and when 
the prayers were ended she took her gittar and psalm-book, 
and sate down upon a chair without arms, and play'd and sung 
so melodiously and admirably that her musick-master, who 
was then there, admired at it. And near the stroke of twelve 
she rose, and sate herself down in a great chair with arms, 
and presently, fetching a strong breathing or two, imme- 
diately expired ; and was so suddenly cold as was much 
wondered at by the physician and surgeon. She dyed at 
Waltham, in Essex, three miles from Chelmsford ; and the 
letter wa^ sent to Sir Charles, at his house in Warwickshire ; 
but he was so afflicted with the death of his daughter, that 
he came not till she was buried : but, when he came, caus'd 
her to be taken up and to be buried by her mother at Edmin- 
ton, as she desir'd in her letter. This was about the year 
1662 or 1663. And that relation the Lord Bishop of 
Gloucester had from Sir Charles Lee himself."* 

In the case here narrated, though it be doubtless an extra- 
ordinary and unusual thing for any one, not reduced by sick- 
ness to an extreme state bi nervous weakness, to be so over- 
come by imagination that a confident expectation of death at 
a particular hour should cause it, even within a few minutes 
after the patient was, to all appearance, in good health, yet, as 
such things may possibly be, we cannot in this case, any more 
than in the preceding example, absolutely deny that the dream 
itself may have been instrumental in working out its fulfilment. 

There are many other dreams, however, as to the fulfilment 
of which no such explanation can be given. One of the best 
known and most celebrated is that of Calphumia, on the night 
before the Ides of March. We read that she almost suc- 
ceeded in imparting to her husband the alarm which this 
warning of his death created in herself, and that Caesar was 

* "An Historical, Physiological, and Theological Treatise of Spirits," by 
John Beaumont, Gent, L<Midon, 1705, pp. Sdft to 400, 


finally confirmed in his original intention to proceed to tlie 
Senate-chamber by the ridicule of one of the conspirators,, 
who made light of the matron's fears.* 

Those fears, natural in one whose husband, through a thou- 
sand perils, had reached so dangerous a height, might, indeed, 
have suggested the dream ; and its exact time may possibly 
have been determined by the prediction of that augur, Spu- 
rina, who had bidden the dictator beware of the Ides of March. 
So that here again, though the dream had no effect in work- 
ing out its fulfilment, apparent causes may be imagiaed to 
accoimt for it. 

A dream of somewhat similar character, occurring in mo- 
dem times, is cited in several medical works, and vouched for, 
as "entirely authentic," by Abercrombie.f It is as follows : — 


Mmor and Mrs. Griffith, of Edinburgh, then residing in 
the Castle, had received into their house their nephew, Mr. 
Joseph D'Acre, of Kirklinton, in the county of Cumberland 
— a young gentleman who had come to the Scottish capital 
for the purpose of attending college, and had been specially 
recommended to his relatives' care. One afternoon Mr. 
D'Acre communicated to them his intention of joining some 
of his young companions on the morrow in a fishing-party to 
Inch-Keith ; and to this no objection was made. During the 
ensuing night, however, Mrs. Griffith started from a troubled 
dream, exclaiming, in accents of terror, " The boat is sinking ! 
oh, save them !" Her husband ascribed it to apprehension 
on her part ; but she declared that she had no uneasiness 
whatever about the fishing-party, and indeed had not thought 
about it. So she again composed herself to sleep. When, 
however, a similar dream was thrice repeated in the course of 
the night, (the last time presenting the image of the boat lost 
and the whole party drowned,) becoming at last seriously 
alarmed, she threw on her wrapping-gown, and, without 
waiting for morning, proceeded to her nephew's room. With 
some (fifficulty she persuaded him to relinquish his design, and 

* Flutarch tells ns that the argxuuents which Calphnmia need, and the 
urgent manner in which she expressed herself, moved and alarmed her 
hnsbaiid, especially when he called to mind that he had never before known 
in her anything of the weakness or superstition of her sex ; whereas now 
she was affected in an extraordinary manner, conjuring him not to go to 
the Senate that day. And, he adds, had it not been for the suggestions of 
Decins Brutus Albinus, one of the conspirators, but a man in whom CsBsar 
placed much confidence, these arguments would have prevailed. 

t "Intellectual Powers," 15th ed., p. 215. Abercrombia coTA^oaa^ "OBft 
story and omita the naxaea. 


to send his servant to Leitli with an excuse. The morning was 

%fine, and the party embarked ; but about three o'clock a storm 

suddenly arose, the boat foundered, and all on board were lost.* 

Here it may be alleged, that, as the aunt, in her wakina: 
state, experienced no apprehension for her nephew's safety, S 
is not at all likely that alarm on her part should have sug- 
gested the dream. I have shown, however, from my own 
experience, that dreams maybe suggested by incidents that have 
made but trifling impression, and that had ceased to occupy 
the mind at the time of going to sleep. And, inasmuch as 
the risk attending sailing-parties on the Firth of Forth to 
young people, careless, probably, and thoughtless of danger, 
IS considerable, the chances against a fatal result, in any 
particular case, cannot be regarded as so overwhelmingly 
great that we are precluded from adopting the hypothesis of 
an accidental coincidence. Cicero says, truly enough, " What 
person who aims at a mark all day will not sometimes hit it ? 
We sleep every night, and there are few on which we do not 
dream : can we wonder, then, that what we dream sometimes 
comes to pass ?" f 

Yet, if such examples should be found greatly multiplied, 
and particularly if details, as well as the general result, cor- 
respond accurately with the warning, the probabilities against 
a chance coincidence increase. 

But it is very certain that such instances are much more 

* Independently of Abercrombie's vonoher, this narrative is perfectly 
well authenticated. The late Mary Lady Clerk, of Fennicuik, well known 
in Edinburgh during a protracted widowhood, was a daughter of Mr. 
D' Acre ; and she herself communicated the story to " Blackwood's Maga- 
zine," (vol. xix. p. 73), in a letter dated " Princes Street, May 1, 1826," 
and commencing thus : — " Being in company the other day when the con- 
versation turned upon dreams, I related one, of which, as it happened to 
my own father, I can answer for the perfect truth." She concludes thus ; 
— " I often heard the story firom my father, who always added, * It has not 
made me superstitious ; but with awful gratitude I never can forget that 
my life, under Providence, was saved by a dream.' — M. C." 

In the Magazine (of which I have followed, but somewhat abridged, the 
version) the names are initialised only. Q^hrough the kindness of an Edin- 
burgh friend, I am enabled to fill them up from a copy of the anecdote in 
which they were given in full by Lady Clerk in her own handwriting. 

To the kindness of the same friend I am indebted for the original news- 
paper notice of the accident referred to. It occurred on the 7th of August, 
1734, and is narrated in the columns of an Edinburgh newspaper, still 
published, the "Caledonian Mercury." The fishing ptfrty consisted of 
Mr. Patrick Cumoning, a merchant, Colin Campbell, shipmate, a boy named 
Cleland, nephew to Campbell, and two sailors. The boat was upset by a 
squall firom the south-west, and all were drowned except Campbell, who was 
picked up after being five hours in the water, almost dead with &tigue. — 
Caledomcbn Mercwry^ August 12, 1734. 
f "De JXviDatione," lib. ii. § 59. 

siGNOR Romano's story. 105 

numerous throughout society than those who have given 
slight attention to the subject imagine. Men usually relate 
with reluctance that which exposes them to the imputation of 
credulity. It is to an intimate friend only, or to one known 
to be seriously examining the question, that such confidences 
are commonly made. In the three or four years last past, 
during which I have taken all interest in this and kindred 
subjects, there have been communicated to me so many 
examples of dreams containing true warnings, or otherwise 
strangely fulfilled, that I have become convinced there is a 
very considerable proportion of all the persons we meet in 
our intercourse with the world, who could relate to us, if 
they would, one or more such, as having occurred either in 
their own families or to some of their acquaintances. I feel 
assured that among those who may read this book there will 
be few who could not supply evidence in support of the 
opinion here expressed. 

I proceed to furnish, from among the narratives of this 
character which have thus recently come to my knowledge, a 
few specimens, for the authenticity of which I can vouch. 

In the year 1818, Signer Alessandro Romano, the head of 
an old and highly-respected Neapolitan family, was at Patu, 
in the province of Terra d'Otranto, in the kingdom of Naples. 
He dreamed one night that the wife of the Cavaliere Libetta, 
Counsellor of the Supreme Court, and his friend and legal 
adviser, who was then in the city of Naples, was dead. 
Although Signer Romano had not heard of the Signora^ 
Libetta being ill, or even indisposed, yet the extreme vivid- 
ness of the dream produced a great impression on his mind 
and spirits ; and the next morning he repeated it to his family, 
adding that it had disturbed him greatly, not only on accoimt 
of his friendship for the family, but also because the Cavaliere 
had then in charge for him a lawsuit of importance, which 
he feared this domestic affliction might cause him to neglect. 

Patu is two himdred and eighty miles from Naples ; and it 
was several days before any confirmation or refutation of 
Signer Romano's fears could be obtained. At last he received 
a letter from the Cavaliere Libetta, informing him that he had 
lost his wife by death ; and, on comparing dates, it was found 
that she died on the very night of Signer Romano's dream. 

This fact was communicated to me by my friend Don 
Giuseppe Romano,* son of the gentleman above referred to, 

* On the 25th of April, 1858, at his villa, near l^aigdes. 1 toc^ Tia\«^ ^ 


who was Kving in liis father's house when the incident took 
place, and heard him relate his dream the morning after it 

Here is another, which was narrated to me, I remember, 
while walking, one beautiful day in June, in the Villa Reale, 
(the fashionable park of Naples, having a magnificent view 

over the bay,) by a member of the A legation, one of 

the most intelligent and agreeable acquaintances I made in 
that city. 

On the 16th of October, 1850, being then in the city of 
Naples, this gentleman dreamed that he was by the bedside 
of his father, who appeared to be in the agonies of death, 
and that after a time he saw him expire. He awoke in a 
state of great excitement, bathed in cold perspiration ; and 
the impression on his mind was so strong that he immediately 
rose, though it was still night, dressed himself, and wrote to 
his father, inquiring after his health. His father was then 
at Trieste, distant from Naples^ by the nearest route, five 
days' journey ; and the son had no cause whatever, except 
the above dream, to be uneasy about him, seeing that his age 
did not exceed fifty, and that no intelligence of his illness, or 
even indisposition, had been received. He waited for a reply 
with some anxiety for three weeks, at the end of which time 
came an official communication to the chef of the mission, re- 
questing him to inform the son that it behoved Imn to take 
some legal measures in regard to the property of his father, 
who had died at Trieste, after a brief fflness, on the sixteenth 
of October. 

It will be observed that in this instance the agitation of 
mind in the dreamer was much greater than commonly 
occurs in the case of an ordinary dream. The gentleman 
rose, dressed himself in the middle of the night, and imme- 
diately wrote to his father, so great was his anxiety in regard 
to that parent's fate. The same may usually be noticed in 
the record of cases in which the dream is fulfilled, even if the 
person to whom it occurs is a sceptic in all such presentiments. 

Such a sceptic is Macnish, author of the " Philosophy of 
Sleep ;"* yet he admits the effect which such a dream, oc- 

the oocmrence at the time, which were then and there examined and cor- 
rected by the narrator. 

* Speaking of the hypothesis that dreams may at times give ns an in*- 
sight into fiiturity, Macnish says, " This opinion is so singularly nnphilo- 
sophical that I would not have noticed it, were it not advocated by persons 
ofgocA sense and education."—" Philosophy of Sleep," p. 129. 

macnish's dream. 107 

curring to himself in the month of August, 1821, produced 
upon his spirits. I quote the narrative in his own words : — 

"I was then in Caithness, when I dreamed that a near 
relation of my own, residing three hundred miles off, had 
suddenly died ; and immediately thereafter awoke in a state 
of inconceivable terror, similar to that produced by a 
paroxysm of nightmare. The same day, happening to be 
writing home, I mentioned the circumstance in a half-jesting, 
half-earnest way. To tell the truth, I was afraid to be 
serious, lest I should be laughed at for putting any faith in 
dreams. However, in the interval between writing and re- 
ceiving an answer I remained in a state of most unpleasant 
suspense. I felt a presentiment that something dreadftd had 
happened or would happen ; and, though I could not help 
blaming myself for a childish weakness in so feeling, I was 
unable to get rid of the painful idea which had taken such 
rooted possession of my mind. Three days after sending 
away the letter, what was my astonishment when I received 
one written the day subsequent to mine, and stating that the 
relative of whom I had dreamed had been struck with a fatal 
shock of palsy the day before — ^that is, the very day on the 
morning of which I had beheld the appearance m my dream I 
I may state that my relative was in perfect health before the 
fatal event took place. It came upon him like a thunderbolt, 
at a, period when no one could have the slightest anticipation 
of danger."* 

Here is a witness disinterested beyond all possible doubt ; 
for he is supplying evidence against his own opinions. But 
are the effects he narrates such as are usually produced by a 
mere dream on the mind of a person not infected with supersti- 
tion P Inconceivable terror, though there was no nightmare ; 
a presentiment lasting for days, taking rooted possession of the 
feelings, and which he strove in vain to shake off, that some- 
thing dreadftd had happened or would happen ! Yet, with 
all this alarm, unnatural under ordinary circumstances, how 
does the narrator regard the case P He sets down his terrors 
as a childish weakness, and declares, as to the coincidence 
which so excited his astonishment, that there is nothing in it 
to justify us in referring it to any other origin than chance. 
Taking the case as an isolated one, it would be illogical 

But, after all, it ayails nothing to allege that an opinion is nnphilosophical 
if it should happen that &cts attest its truth. 
* « Philosophy of Sleep," 6th ed., pp. 13—436. 


positively to deny this ; yet may we not fairly include Dr. 
Macnish in the category of those to whom Dr. Johnson 
alludes when, speaking of the reality of ultra-mimdane 
agency, he says that " some who deny it with their tongues 
confess it with their fears ?" 

The next example I shall cite came, in part, within my 
own personal knowledge. A colleague of the diplomatic 

corps, an intimate friend of mine, M. de S , had engaged 

for himself and his lady passage for South America in a 
steamer, to sail on the 9th of May, 1856. A few days after 
their passage was taken, a friend of theirs and mine had a 
dream which caused her serious uneasiness. She saw, in her 
sleep, a ship in a violent storm foimder at sea; and an in^ 
temal intimation made her aware that it was the same on 

board which the S s proposed to embark. So lively was 

the impression that, on awaking, she could scarcely persuade 
herself the vision was not reality. Dropping again to sleep, 
the same dream recurred a second time. This increased her 
anxiety; and the next day she asked my advice as to 
whether she ought not to state the circumstances to her friends. 
Having, at that time, no faith whatever in such intimations, 
I recommended her not to do so, since it would not probably 
cause them to change their plans, yet might make them 
uncomfortable to no purpose. So she suffered them to depart 
unadvised of the fact. It so happened, however, as I learned 
a few weeks later, that fortuitous circumstances induced my 
friends to alter their first intention, and, having given up 
their places, to take passage in another vessel. 

These particulars had nearly passed from my memory, 
when, long aftehv^ards, being at the Eussian Minister's, ms 

lady said to me, " How fortunate that our friends the S— s 

did not go in thip vessel they had first selected!" "Why 
so ?" I asked. " Have you not heard," she replied, " that 
that vessel is lost ? It must have perished at sea ; for, 
though more than six months has elapsed since it left port, 
it has never been heard of." 

In this case, it will be remarked, the dream was commu- 
nicated to myself some weeks or months before its warning 
was ftilfiUed. It is to be conceded, however, that the chances 
against its fdlfilment were not so great as in some of the 
preceding examples. The chances against a vessel about to 
cross the Atlantic being lost on that particular voyage, are 
much less than are the chances against a man, say of middle 
»ffe and in good health, dying on any one particular day. 


In the next example we shall find a new element intro- 
duced. Mrs. S related to me, that, residing in Rome in 

June, 1856, she dreamed, on the 30th of that month, that 
her mother, who had been several years dead, appeared to 
her, gave her a lock of hair, and said, " Be especially carefiil 
of this lock of hair, my child, for it is your father's ; and the 
angels will call him away from you to-morrow.'* The effect 

of this dream on Mrs. S 's spirits was such that, when 

she awoke, she experienced the greatest alarm, and caused a 
telegraphic notice to he instantly despatched to England, 
where her father was, to inquire after his health. No imme- 
diate reply was received ; but, when it did come, it was to 
the effect that her father had died that morning at nine 
o'clock. She afterwards learned that, two days before his 
de^h, he had caused to be cut off a lock of his hair, and 
handed it to one of his daughters, who was attending on him, 
telling her it was for her sister in Rome. He had been ill 
of a cnronic disease ; but the last accounts she received of his 
health had been favourable, and had given reason to hope 
that he might yet survive for some years.* 

The peculiarity in this example is, that there is a double 
coincidence: first, as to the exact day of death; and, 
secondly, as to the lock of hair. The chances against that 
double event are very much greater than against a single 
occurrence only. 

Abercrombie relates and vouches for the following, in 
which, in a similar manner, a double event was truly fore- 

A clergyman, who had come to Edinburgh from a short 
distance, being asleep at an inn, dreamed of seeing a fire, 
and one of his children in the midst of it. He awoke with 
the impression, and instantly started out on his journey 
home. Arrived within sight of his house, he found it in 
flames, and reached it just in time to rescue one of his chil- 
dren, who in the confusion had been left in a situation of 

great danger, f 

On this Abercrombie remarks, that, "without calling in 
question the possibility of supernatural communication in 
such cases," he thinks the incident may be explained on 
natural principles ; as originating, namely, in paternal 
anxiety, coupled, perhaps, with experience of carelessness in 

* Bead over to Mrs. S— on the 25th of April, 1858, and its accuracy 
.assented to by her, t " Intellectnal Powers" ^.^A^. 



the servants left in charge. We may admit this ; but it is 
evident that the fortuitous fulfilment of the two incidents 
witnessed in the dream (the fire itself, and the special danger 
therefrom to one of his children) is a contingency much more 
unlikely than would have been a single coincidence. 

There may, on the other hand, be peculiar circumstances 
which increase, in particular instances,, the chances in favour 
of fortuitous fulfilment. One such is given by Macnish, 
which, he says, may be confidently relied upon. It is the 
case of a young lady, a native of Ross-shire in Scotland, who 
was devotedly attached to an officer, then with Sir John 
Moore in the Spanish war. The constant danger to which he 
was exposed preyed on her spirits. She pined, and fell into 
ill health. Finally, one night, in a dream, she saw her lover, 

Sle, bloody, and wounded in the breast, enter her apartment, 
e drew aside the curtains of the bed, and, with a mild look, 
told her he had been slain in battle, bidding her, at the same 
time, to be comforted, and not take his death to heart. The 
consequences of this dream were fatal to the poor girl, who 
died a few davs afterwards, desiring her parents to note down 
the date of her dream, which she was confident would be 
confirmed. It was so. The news shortly after reached 
England that the officer had fallen at the battle of Corunna, 
on the very day on the night of which his mistress had beheld 
the vision.* 

Dr. Macnish considers this " one of the most striking 
examples of identity between the dream and the real circum- 
stances with which he is acquainted." Such an opinion is a 
proof how little exact men sometimes are in testing the cha- 
racter of phenomena like this. In itself, and without refer- 
ence to numerous other analogous cases in which the dead are 
said to have appeared to some dear friend soon after the 
moment of decease, this incident is far less striking than Dr. 
Macnish's own dream, given in a previous part of this 
chapter. Let us compare the cases. In the one, the young 

n^ ^ 's constant thought was of her lover placed in continual 
/ peril. What so natural as that she should dream of 
him P The wonder would have been, if she had not. That 
he should appear to her pale and wounded, was but a reflec- 
tion of the picture which Jn her sad daily reveries had doubt- 
less a hundred times suggested itself. The coincidence as to 
the day remains. But it is to be remembered that the inci- 

• « 

Phnosopliy of Sleep," pp. 132 to 134. 


dent oeeTirred during one of the most disastrous episodes of 
the Peninsular War, when each hour was expected to bring 
news of a bloody battle. It was at a time when every officer 
and soldier under the gallant and unfortxmate Moore's com- 
mand might be said to go forth each morning with his life in 
his hand. The chances of death to any one of these officers 
on any one particular day were perhaps twenty, thirty, fifty 
fold greater than to an individual engaged in the ordinary 
pursuits of peacefdl life. The chances against the fortuitous 
coincidence as to the day were diminished in a corresponding 

How different the circumstances in Dr. Macnish's own 
case ! His relative, as he informs us, was in perfect health, 
and at three hundred miles' distance. There does not appear 
to have been anything to direct the doctor's thoughts 
specially to him — certainly nothing to make him anxious as to 
his fate ; nothing, therefore, to induce a dream about him, 
still less to suggest a vision of his death. Yet, under all 
these improbabilities, Macnish dreams that his relative is 
dead. Nor is this all. Without apparent cause except what 
he regards as a feeling of childish superstition, there clings 
to him a panic-terror, a presentiment of evil so deep-rooted, 
that for days his reason is powerless to eradicate it. Then 
follows the coincidence of the day, also under circumstances 
in which, according to every human calculation, the impro- 
bability of the event was extreme, seeing that there were no 
grounds for the slightest anticipation of danger. 

Yet, such is the power of romantic incident on the imagi- 
nation, our author passes lightly over his own most remark- 
able case, and declares, as to that of the yoimg lovers, that 
it is one of the most striking on record. The managers of 
any insurance compaoy would be found more clear-sighted. 
Suppose they had been asked to insure, for a month or two, 
the two lives ; that of the officer daily exposed to shot or 
shell, and that of the coimtry gentleman in a quiet home. 
The vastly-increased premium which they would be certain 
to demand in the former case as compared to the latter would 
sufficiently mark their estimate of the comparative chances of 

Such considerations shcftdd be borne in mind in judging 
all cases of dreams fulfilled, when the fulfilment happens to 
depend upon an event which, though usually unlikely, may, 
from peculiar circumstances of danger or otherwise, have 
been brought within the range of probabiKty. Asv Yaa\as\sife 

112 A GLASGOW teller's DREAM. 

is suppKed by a curious custom still prevalent at Newark- 
upon-Trent, in England, on the 11th of March of every year. 
On that day penny loaves are given away to any poor per- 
sons who apply for them at the Town Hall. The origin of 
the custom is this. During the bombardment of Newark by 
Oliver Cromwell's forces, a certain Alderman Clay dreamed, 
three nights successively, that his house had taken fire ; and 
so much was he impressed thereby that he removed his 
family to another residence. A few days afterwards, on the 
11th of March, his house was burned down by the besiegers. 
In gratitude for what he regarded as a miraculous deliver- 
ance, he left by his will, dated 11th December, 1694, to the 
Mayor and Aldermen, two hundred pounds ; the interest of 
half that sum to be paid to the vicar annually, on condition 
of his preaching an appropriate sermon, and with the interest 
of the other half bread to be yearly purchased for distribu- 
tion to the poor. ^ 

Here the coincidence was remarkable, but certainly less so 
than if the alderman's house, through the casualties incident 
to a siege, had not been placed under circumstances of extra 

Let us pass on to another class of dreams, usually regarded 
as depending on the revival of old associations. One of the 
most remarkable examples is given by Abercrombie, who 
states that it occurred to a particular friend of his, and that 
it " may be reUed upon in its most minute 'particulars." It 
is in these words :- 

"The gentleman was at the time connected with one of 
the principal banks in Glasgow, and was at his place at the 
teller's table where money is paid, when a person entered, 
demanding payment of a sum of six pounds. 

"There were several persons waiting, who were in turn 
entitled to be served before him ; but he was extremely im- 
patient and rather noisy, and, being besides a- remarkable 
stammerer, he became so annoying that another gentleman 
requested my friend to pay him his money and get rid of 
him. He did so, accordingly, but with an expression of im- 
patience at being obliged to attend to him before his turn ; 
and he thought no more of the tAnsaction. At the end of 
the year, which was eight or nine months after, the books of 
the bank could not be made to balance, the deficiency being 
exactly six pounds. Several days and nights had been spent 
in endeavouring to discover the error, but without success ; 


when, at last, my fnend returned home much fatigued, and 
went to bed. He dreamed of being at his place in the bank, 
and the whole transaction with the stammerer, as now de- 
tailed, passed before him, in all its particulars. He awoke 
under a fidl impression that the dream was to lead him to 
the discovery of what he was so anxiously in search of; and, 
on investigation, he soon discovered that the sum paid to 
this person, in the manner now mentioned, had been neglected 
to be inserted in the book of interests, and that it exactly 
accounted for the error in the balance."* 

Commenting on this case, Abercrombie says, "The fact 
upon which the importauce of the case rested was not his 
having paid the money, but having neglected to insert the 
payment. Now, of this there was no impression made upon 
his mind at the time, and we can scarcely conceive upon what 
principle it could be recalled. The deficiency being six 
pounds, we may indeed suppose the gentleman endeavouring 
to recollect whether there could have been a payment of this 
sum made in any irregular manner, that ini*ght have led to 
an omission or an error ; but in the transactions of an exten- 
sive bank, in a great commercial city, a payment of six 
pounds, at a distance of eight or nine months, could have 
made but a very faint impression. And, upon the whole, 
the case presents, perhaps, one of the most remarkable mental 
phenomena connected with this curious subject." 

The difficulty in the above case is, not that something was 
recalled which, in the waking state, had passed from the 
memory; for this, as in the example already cited from 
Brodie, is a phenomenon known to show itself, occasionally, 
in dreams : the true difficulty is that the fact of which the 
teller was in search, namely, the omission to enter a sum of 
six poimds, was not recalled by the dream at aU. The dream, 
indeed, did recall and present again to his memory, in aU its 
details, a certain forgotten circumstance, namely, that he had 
made a payment eight or nine months before, in a somewhat 
irregular manner, to a certain troublesome stammerer; and 
the impression was produced on his mind " that the dream 
was to lead him to the discovery of what he was so anxiously 
in search of;" nothing more. It was only a hint given; a 
mere suggestion, as if some one had said, " See if that aflfair 
of the stammerer be not in some way connected with the 
error that has so long escaped you." And we are expressly 

♦ "InteUectual Powers," p. 205. 



. that it was only on investigation the teller discovered thaf 
; payment to the annoying customer was the one actually 
wiitted. If this be not an example of a suggestion made 
from some foreign source, instead of being a mere instance of 
old associations revived, it has, at least, very much the ap- 
pearance of it. 

Other examples, apparently more extraordinary and more 
closely trenching on what is usually deemed the supernatural, 
are more susceptible of natural explanation. For instance, a 
story related by Sir Walter Scott,* as follows,: — 



"Mr. Rutherford, of Bowland,t a gentleman of landed 
property in the Vale of Quia, was prosecuted for a very 
considerable sum, the accumulated arrears of teind (or tithe), 
for which he was said to be indebted to a noble family, the 
titulars (lay imjpropriators of the tithes). Mr. Rutherford 
was strongly impressed with the belief that his father had, by 
a form of process peculiar to the law of Scotland, purchased 
these temds from the titular, and, therefore, that the present 
prosecution was groimdless. But, after an industrious search 
among his father's papers, an investigation among the public 
records, and a careful inquiry among all persons who had 
transacted law business for his father, no evidence could be 
recovered to support his defence. The period was now near 
at hand, when he conceived the loss of his lawsuit to be in- 
evitable; and he had formed the determination to ride to 
Edinburgh next day, and make the best bargain he could in 
the way of compromise. He went to bed with this resolution, 
and, with all the circumstances of the case floating upon his 
mind, had a dream to the following purpose. His father, 
who had been many years dead, appeared to him, he thought, 
and asked him why he was disturbed in his mind. In dreams 
men are not surprised at such apparitions. Mr. Rutherford 
thought that he informed his father of the cause of his dis- 
tress, adding that the payment of a considerable sum of money 
was the more unpleasant to him because he had a strong 
consciousness that it was not due, though he was unable to 

* In that edition of the " Waverley Novels" to which Sir Walter himself 
supplied notes. It is given in a note to the " Antiquary,** in Volume V. 

t Sir Walter gives the initial and final letters only of the name (Mr. 

R d). I am indebted for the filling up, and for many other obligations, 

to an Edinburgh firiend, whom I wish that X might here thank by name. 


recover any evidence in support of his belief. * You are right, 
my son/ replied the paternal shade : * I did acquire right to 
these teinds, for payment of which you are now prosecuted. 
The papers relating to the transaction are in the hands of 
Mr. — — , a writer (or attorney), who is now retired from 
professional business and resides at Inveresk, near Edinburgh. 
He was a person whom I employed on that occasion for a 
particular reason, but who never, on any other occasion, trans- 
acted business on my accoimt. It is very possible,' pursued 

the vision, ' that Mr. may have forgotten a matter which 

is now of a very old date ; but you may call it to his recol- 
lection by this token, that, when I came to pay his account, 
there was difficulty in getting change for a Portugal piece of 
gold, and we were forced to drink out the balance at a 

"Mr. Rutherford awoke, in the morning, with all the 
words of the vision imprinted on his mind, and thought it 
worth while to walk across the country to Inveresk, instead 
of going straight to Edinburgh. When he came there, he 
waited on the gentleman mentioned in the dream — a very 
old man. Without saying anything of the vision, he inquired 
whether he ever remembered having conducted such a matter 
for his deceased father. The old gentleman could not, at 
first, bring the circimistance to his recollection ; but, on men- 
tion of the Portugal piece of gold, the whole returned upon 
his memory. He made an immediate search for the papers, 
and recovered them; so that Mr. Rutherford carried to 
Edinburgh the documents necessary to gain the cause which 
he was on the verge of losing." 

Sir Walter adds, as to the authenticity of the above narra- 
tion, " The author has often heard this story told by persons 
who had the best access to know the facts, who were not 
likely themselves to be deceived, and who were certainly 
incapable of deception. He cannot, therefore, refuse to give 
it credit, however extraordinary the circumstances may 

The hypothetical explanation which Scott oflFers is, " that 
the dream was only the recapitulation of information which 
Mr. Rutherford had really received from his father while in 
life, but which, at first, he merely recalled as a general im- 
pression that the claim was settled." 

The possibility that this may be the true theory cannot be 
denied ; and it is easier to imagine it in thia c^^sfe ^«a. m 


that of the bank teller. Yet serious difficulties present 
themselves in opposition. We cannot assign to these their 
exact weight, because, as unfortunately too often happens in 
such narrations, some of the essential particulars are omitted. 
We do not know how old Mr. Rutherford was at the time of 
the purchase of the teinds. We merely learn that it was a 
transaction " of a very old date." The chances are that he 
was a child. If so, it is very unlikely that his father woidd 
have related to him all the minute details connected with 
such a transaction, as the difficulty about getting change for 
a Portuguese coin, and the adjournment to a tavern, if, on 
the other hand, he was already of adult age, it is not pro- 
bable that a matter of so much importance should have so 
completely faded from his memory that it could not be (as to 
the recollection of the aged attorney it was) consciously re- 
called. And it is evident that it was not so recalled. The 
son firmly believed that it was no revival of recollection, but 
that he had actually conversed with his parent's spirit ; for, 
Scott tells us, "This remarkable circumstance was attended 
with bad consequences to Mr. Rutherford, whose health and 
spirits were afterwards impaired by the attention which he 
thought himself obliged to pay to the visions of the night." 

There is yet another difficulty ; the coincidences, namely, 
between the suggestions of the (alleged) spirit and what 
actually happened during the visit to the attorney at 
Inveresk. He had forgotten the transaction. Was that cir- 
cumstance anticipated by chance ? His memory was re- 
freshed hj allusion to the incident' of the Portugal piece of 
gold. W as that a purely fortuitous selection ? 

Unless we assume it as a point settled, that there is no 
such thing as ultra-mundane communication, the simple and 
natural conclusion in such a case surely is, that the father 
really appeared, in a dream, to the son. And an argument 
against this which Scott adduces in his comments on the 
story has little weight. He says, " Few will suppose that 
the laws of nature were suspended, and a special communica- 
tion from the dead to the living permitted, for the purpose of 
saving Mr. Rutherford a certain number of hundred pounds." 
It is quite true that these would be unreasonable supposi- 
tions. Little as we can safely predicate in regard to the 
ways of God, we may still give weight to the ancient maxim, 
" Nee Deus intersit, nisi dignus vindice nodus." But, as- 
suming for a moment that it was the paternal spirit who 
conveyed intelligence to the son, it does not by any means 

sc5ott's story. X17' 

follow that there was a suspension of the laws of nature, or 
any special permission required, in the case. I have already* 
given my reasons for believing that if there be occasional 
commimication between the dead and the living, it occurs 
under certain fixed conditions, perhaps physical, at all events 
governed by laws as constant and unchangeable as are those 
which hold the planets to their appointed course. And if, 
as Scripture intimates f and poets have sung, J the spirits of 
the departed still take an interest in the well-being of those 
friends they have left behind upon earth ; and if they may 
sometimes, by virtue of these laws, evince that interest, why 
may we not imagine a father availing himself of such oppor- 
tunity to avert an injustice about to overtake his son ? And 
why should we admit and adopt extreme improbabilities in 
order, at all hazards, to escape from such a conclusion ? 

Mr. Rutherford seems to have fallen into the same error as 
Sir Walter ; though in the case of the latter it resulted in 
scepticism, and of the former, in superstition. A more en- 
lightened view of the case might have benefited both. It 
might have induced the author of Waverley to doubt the 
propriety of denying (if indeed he did in his heart deny) the 
occasional reality of ultra-mundane agency ; and it might 
have spared Mr. Rutherford the delusion of imagining, as he 
seems to have done, that he was the favoured subject of a 
special and miraculous intervention from God. 

Let us proceed a step further. Supposing that we are 
willing to regard the two last-mentioned cases, beset with 
difficulties though they be, as mere examples of old associa- 

* Book I. cliapter iii., on " The Miraculous." 
t Luke xvi. 27. 

" They that tell us that such as Dives retain no love to their brethren on 
earth, speak more than they can prove, and are not so credible as Christ, 
that seemeth to say the contrary." — Baxtek : World of Spirits, p. 222. 
J " And is there care in Heaven ? And is there love 

In heavenly spirits to these creatures base, 
That may compassion of their evils move ? 
There is !" — Spenser. 
When a beloved child is taken from us, there is, perhaps, no idea to which 
the bereaved heart turns more eagerly and naturally than to this. In the 
Protestant cemetery at Naples lie the remains of a young girl, the beaiutiful 
and gifted daughter of an American clergyman ; and upon her tombstone 
I bad inscribed, by the fSa.ther's instructions, the well-known stanza — who 
has not admired it ? — 

" Fold her, O Father, in thine arms, 
And let her henceforth be 
A messenger of love between 
Our human hearts and Thee " 


tions recalled, let us inquire whether no cases are to be found 
in which there is presented to the mind of the sleeper a 
reality which could not have been drawn from the forgotten 
depths of the memory, because it never existed there. What 
shall we do, for example, with such a case as this, occurring 
to William Howitt, and recorded by that author himself? 
It occurred during his voyage to Australia, in 1852. 

" Some weeks ago, while yet at sea, I had a dream of being 
at my brother's at Melbourne, and found his house on a hifl 
at the further end of the town, next to the open forest. His 
garden sloped a little way down the hill to some brick build- 
ings below ; and there were green-houses on the right hand 
by the wall, as you looked down the hill from the house. As 
I looked out from the windows in my dream, I saw a wood 
of dusky-foliaged trees, having a somewhat segregated ap- 
pearance in their heads ; that is, their heads did not make 
that dense mass like our woods. ' There,' I said, addressing 
some one in my dream, ' I see your native forest of Euca- 
lyptus !' This dream I told to my sons, and to two of my 
feUow-passengers, at the time ; and, on landing, as we 
walked over the meadows, long before we reached the towuj 
I saw this very wood. * There,' I said, ' is the very wood of 
my dream. We shall see my brother's house there !' And 
so we did. It stands exactly as I saw it, only looking 
newer ; but there, over the wall of the garden, is the wood, 
precisely as I saw it, and now see it as I sit at the dining- 
room window writing. When I look on this scene, I seem 
to look into my dream." * 

Unless we imagine that Mr. Howitt is confounding ideas 
origruaUy obtained from a minjite description of the scene 
from his brother's windows with impressions here represented 
as first received by him in dream (a supposition which in the 
case of so intelligent a writer is inadmissible), how can we 
explain this dream by the theory of past memories revived ? 
And here the hypothesis of mere accidental coincidence is 
clearly out of place. Indeed, the case is difficult of ex- 
planation according to any theory heretofore commonly 

Equally so is the following, a personal experience, given 
by Mrs. Howitt in the Appendix to her husband's transla- 
tion of Ennemoser just cited. " On the night of the 12th of 

* Griven in Appendix to " History of Magic," by £Innemoser, translated 
bj William Howitt, London, 1854, voL H. p. 416. 

MART Howrrr's dream. 119 

March, 1853," she says, " I dreamed that I received a letter 
from my eldest son. In my dream I eagerly broke open the 
seal, and saw a closely- written sheet of paper ; but my eye 
caught only these words, in the middle of the first page, 
written larger than the rest, and underdrawn : — ' My father 
is very ill/ The utmost distress seized me, and I suddenly 
woke to find it only a dream ; yet the painful impression of 
reality was so vivia that it was long before I could compose 
myself. The first thing I did, the next morning, was to 
commence a letter to my husband, relating this distressing 
dream. Six days afterwards, on the 18th, an Australian mau 
came in and brought me a letter — ^the only letter I received 
by that mail, and not from any of my family, but from a 
gentleman in Australia with whom we were acquainted. 
This letter was addressed on the outside ' Immediate ;' and, 
with a trembling hand, I opened it ; and, true enough, the 
first words I saw, and those written larger than the rest, in 
the middle of the paper, and underdrawn, were, ' Mr. Hovntt 
is very ill.' The context of these terrible words was, how- 
ever, ' If you hear that Mr. Hovntt is very ill, let this assure 
you that he is better;' but the only emphatic words were 
those which I saw in my dream, and these, nevertheless, 
slightly varying, as, from some cause or other, all such 
mental impressions, spirit- revelations, or occidt dark sayings, 
generally do, from the truth or type which they seem to 

What are we to make of such a case as this, directly testi- 
fied to by a lady of the highest character and intelligence, 
and resting upon her own personal experience ? In dream, 
opening a letter from her son, then in Australia, she sees, 
written in the middle of the first page, in characters larger 
than the rest, and underlined, the words, " My father is very 
ill." Six days afterwards she actually receives a letter from 
Australia, not indeed from her son, but from a friend, and 
therein, in the middle of the page, and in characters larger 
than the rest, and underlined, the first words that meet her^ 
eye on opening it are, "Mr. Howitt is very ill." Is this 
chance P What ! all of it ? First, the words, abnost literally 
corresponding, and in sense exactly so; next, the position 
in the centre of the paper ; then, the larger size of the cha- 
racters ; and, finally, the underlining ? The mind instinct- 
ively, and most justly, rejects such a conclusion. Whatever 
else it is, it is not chance. Mesmerists would call it a case 


of clear-sight (clairvoyance) or far-sight (vtie a distance) cha- 
racterized by somewhat imperfect lucidity. 

Lest the reader should imagine that in accounting on ordi- 
nary principles for the preceding examples he has reached 
the lunit of the difficulties attending the present suWect, I 
shall here cite, from a multitude of similar examples of what 
might not inaptly be termed natural clairvoyance, one or two 
additional cases, with which the reader may find it still more 
embarrassing to deal on the theory of fortuitous coincidence. 

The truth of the first is vouched for by Dr. Carlyon, author 
of a work from which I extract it, who had it from the main 
witness, and who adduces, in attestation, every. particular of 
name, place, and date. 


" On the evening of the 8th of February, 1840, Mr. Novell 
Norway, a Cornish gentleman, was cruelly murdered by two 
brothers of the name of Lightfoot, on his way from Bodmin 
to Wadebridge, the place of his residence. 

" At that time his brother, Mr. Edmund Norway, was in 
the command of a merchant vessel, the ' Orient,' on her 
voyage from Manilla to Cadiz ; and the following is his own 
account of a dream which he had on the night when his 
brother was murdered : — 

" * Ship Orient, prom Manilla to Cadiz, 

February 8, 1840. 

" ^ About 7.30 P.M. the island of St. Helena nn.w., distant 
about seven miles ; shortened jsail and rounded to with the 
ship's head to the eastward; at eight, set the watch and 
went below ; wrote a letter to my brother, Novell Norway. 
About twenty minutes or a quarter before ten o'clock, went 
to bed ; fell asleep, and dreamt I saw two men attack my 
brother and murder him. One caught the horse by the 
bridle, and snapped a pistol twice, but I heard no report ; he 
then struck him a blow, and he fell oflF the horse. They 
struck him several blows, and dragged him by the shoulders 
across the road and left him. In my dream, there was a 
house on the left-hand side of the road. At four o'clock I 
was called, and went on deck to take charge of the ship. I 
told the second officer, Mr. Henry Wren, that I had had a 
dreadfiil dream — ^namely, that my brother Novell was mur- 
dered by two nien on the road from St. Columb to Wade- 

EDMUND Norway's dream. 121 

bridge, but that I felt sure it could not be there, as the house 
there would have been on the right-hand side of the road ; so 
that it must have been somewhere else. He replied, "Don't 
think anything about it; you west-country people are so 
superstitious! You will make yourself miserable the re- 
mainder of the voyage." He then left the general orders and 
went below. It was one continued dream from the time I 
fell asleep until I was called, at four o'clock in the morning. 

" * Edmund Norway, 

" ' Chief Officer Ship Orient.' 

"So much for the dream. Now for the confession of 
William Lightfoot, one of the assassins, who was executed, 
together with his brother, at Bodmin, on Monday, April 13, 

" * I went to Bodmin last Saturday week, the 8th instant 
(February 8, 1840), and in returning I met my brother 
James at the head of Dummeer Hill. It was dim Like. We 
came on the turnpike-road aU the way till we came to the 
house near the spot where the murder was committed. We 
did not go into the house, but hid ourselves in a field. My 
brother knocked Mr. Norway down ; he snapped a pistol at 
him twice, and it did not go oflF. He then knocked him 
down with the pistol. I was there along with him. Mr. 
Norway was struck while on horseback. It was on the turn- 
pike-road, between Pencarrow MUl and the directing-post 
towards Wadebridge. I cannot say at what time of the 
night it was. We left the body in the water, on the left side 
of the road coming to Wadebridge. We took some money 
in a purse, but I did not know how much. My brother drew 
the body across the road to the watering,' 

" At the trial, Mr. Abraham Hambly deposed that he left 
Bodmin ten minutes before ten, and was overtaken by Mr. 
Norway about a quarter of a mile out of Bodmin. They rode 
together for about two miles from Bodmin, where their roads 

" Mr. John Hick, a farmer, of St. Minver, left Bodmin at a 
quarter-past ten, on the Wadebridge road. When he got to 
within a mile of Wadebridge, he saw Mr. Norway's horse 
galloping on before him, without a rider. The clock struck 
eleven just before he entered Wadebridge. 

" Thomas Gregory, Mr. Norway's wagoner, was called by 
Mr. Hick about 3.even o'clock, and, going to the stable, found 
his master's horse standing at the gate. Two «^\» ^i ^^'^ 


blood were on the saddle. He took the pony, and rode out 
on the road. Edward Cavell went with him. They came 
to a place called North Hill. There is a lone cottage there, 
by the right-hand side of the road going to Bodmin, which 
is unoccupied. On the Wadebridge side of the cottage there 
is a small orchard belonging to it, and near the orchard a 
little stream of water coming down into the road. They 
found the body of Mr. Norway in the water. 

"The evidence of the surgeon, Mr. Tickell, showed that 
the head was dreadfiilly beaten and fractured. 

" It will be seen that Mr. Edmund Norway, in relating his 
dream the following morning to his shipmate, observed that 
the murder could not have been committed on the St. Columb 
road, because the house, in going from thence to Wadebridge, 
is on the right hand, whereas the house was in his dream 
on the left. Now, this circumstance, however apparently 
trivial, tends somewhat to enhance the interest of the dream, 
without in the least impugning its fideUty ; for such fissures 
are characteristic of these sensorial impressions, which are 
altogether involuntary, and bear a much nearer relation to the 
productions of the daguerreotype than to those of the portrait- 
^ painter, whose lines are at his command. 

" I asked Mr. Edmund Norway whether, supposing that he 
had not written a letter to his brother, Mr. N. Norway, on 
the evening of the 8th February, and had nevertheless 
dreamt the dream in question, the impression made by it 
would have been such as to have prevented his writing to him 
subsequently. To which he replied, that it might not have 
had that effect ; but he could not say with any precision 
whether it would or not. 

" At all events, the dream must be considered remarkable, 
from its unquestionable authenticity, and its perfect coinci- 
dence in time and circimistances with a most horrible mur- 


So far the statement of Dr. Carlyon. Let us briefly review 
the case it presents. 

The coincidence as to time is exact, the murder occurring 
on the same night as the dream. The incident is not an ordi- 
nary accident, but a crime of rare occurrence. The precise 
correspondence between the dream and the actual occurrences 

* " Early Years and Late Eeflections," by Clement Carlyon, M.D,, Fellow 
of Pembroke College, in 2 vols., vol i. p. 219. 


is not left to be proved by recollections called up weeks or 
months after the dream ; for, the evidence is an extract taken 
verbatim from the ship's log — the record of the moment, when 
everything was fresh on the memory. 

It is very true that Mr. Norway had been writing to his 
brother just before he retired to rest; and the chances are 
that he fell asleep thinking of him. It is possible that, but 
for this direction of his thoughts, he might not have had the 
dream at aU ; for who shall determine the power of sympathy, 
or assign to that power its limit ? 

It was natural, then, that he should dream of his brother. 
But was it (in the usual acceptation of the term) natural, also, 
that every minute particular of that night's misdeeds, perpe- 
trated in England, should be seen at the time, in a vision of 
the night, by a seaman in a vessel off the island of St. Helena P 

The minuteness of the correspondence can best be judged 
by placing the various incidents seen in the dream in juxta- 
position with those which were proved, on the trial, to have 

Mr. Edmund Norway dreamed that Mr. Nevell Norway was attacked, 

lis brother Nevell was attacked by the same night, by William Lightfoot 

two men, and mnrdered. and his brother James, and was mur- 
dered by them. 

Mr. Edmund Norway dreamed that " It was on the turnpike-road be^ 
** it was on the road from St. Columb tween Pencarrow Mill and the direct- 
to Wadebridge." ing-post towards Wadebridge." 

Mr. Edmund Norway dreamed that James Lightfoot " snapped a pistol 

•* one of the men caught the horse by at Mr. Norway twice, and it did not 

the bridle, and snapped a pistol twice, go off ; he then knocked him down 

but he heard no report ; he then with the pistol." ..." Mr. Norway 

struck him a blow, and he fell off his was struck while on horseback." . 

Mr. Edmund Norway dreamed that James Lightfoot " drew the body 

the murderers " struck his brother across the road, to the watering." . . . 

several blows, and dragged him by The murderers " left the body in the 

the shoulders across the road, and left water, on the left side of the road 

him." coming to Wadebridge.' 


A more complete series of correspondences betweeii dream 
and reality can hardly be imagined. The incident of the 
pistol twice missing &re is in itself conclusive. The various 
coincidences, taken together, as proof that chance is not the 
true explanation, have all the force of a demonstration in 

There was an inaccuracy, as to the house on the left of the 
road, while it really stands on the right ; just as the words in 
Mrs. Hewitt's letter slightly varied from those s\ifc\i^T^'5j^ 


in dream — ^instructive inaccuracies these, not in the least 
invalidating the proofs which exist independent of them, but 
teaching us that, even through an agency such as we have 
been accustomed to call supernatural, truth may come to us, 
mingled with error, and that clairvoyance, even the most re- 
markable, is at best uncertain and faUible. 

The next example — also of far-sight in dream — ^I obtained 
by personal interview with the gentleman who is the subject 
of it. 


In the winter of 1835-36, a schooner was frozen up in the 
upper part of the Bay of Fundy, close to Dorchester^ which 
is nine miles from the river Pedeudiac. During the time of 
her detention she was intrusted to the care of a gentleman of 
the name of Clarke, who is at this time captain of the schooner 
Julia Hallock, trading between New York and St. Jago de 

Captain Clarke's paternal grandmother, Mrs. Ann Dawe 
Clarke, to whom he was much attached, was at that time 
living, and, so far as he knew, weU. She was residing at 
Lyme-Regis, in the coimty of Dorset, England. 

On the night of the 17th of February, 1836, Captain 
Clarke, then on board the schooner referred to, had a dream 
of so vivid a character that it produced a great impression 
upon him. He dreamed that, being at Lyme-Regis, he saw 
pass before him the funeral of his grandmother. He took 
note of the chief persons who composed the procession, 
observed who were the pall-bearers, who were the mourners, 
and in what order they walked, and distinguished who was 
the officiating pastor. He joined the procession as it ap- 
proached the churchyard gate, and proceeded with it to the 
grave. He thought (in his dream) that the weather was 
stormy, and the ground wet, as after a heavy rain ; and he 
noticed that the wind, being high, blew the pall partly oflF the 
coffin. The graveyard which they entered, the old Protestant 
one, in the centre of the town, was the same in whiclj, as 
Captain Clarke knew, their family burying-place was. He 
perfectly remembered its situation ; but, to his surprise, the 
funeral procession did not proceed thither, but to another part 
of the churchyard, at some distance. There (still in his 
dream) he saw the open grave, partially filled with water, as 
from the rain ; and, looking into it, he particularly noticed 
Boating in the water two drowned field-mice. Afterwards, 


as lie thought, he conversed with his mother ; and she told 
him that the morning had been so tempestuous that the 
funeral, originally appointed for ten o'clock, had been deferred 
till foiQ'. He remarked, in reply, that it was a fortunate cir- 
cumstance ; for, as he had just arrived in time to join the 
procession, had the funeral taken place in the forenoon he 
could not have attended it at all. 

This dream made so deep an impression on Captain Clarke, 
that in the morning he noted the date of it. Some time 
afterwards there came the news of his grandmother's death, 
with the additional particular that she was buried on the same 
day on which he, being in North America, had dreamed of 
her funeral. 

When, four years afterwards. Captain Clarke visited Lyme- 
B^gis, he found that every particular of his dream minutely 
corresponded with the reality. The pastor, the pall-bearers, 
the mourners, were the same persons he had seen. Yet this, 
we may suppose, he might naturally have anticipated. But 
the funeral had been appointed for ten o'clock in the morning, 
and, in consequence of the tempestuous weather and the 
heavy rain that was falling, it had been delayed until four in 
the afternoon. His mother, who attended the funeral, dis- 
tinctly recollected that the high wind blew the paU partially 
off the coffin. In consequence of a wish expressed by the 
old lady shortly before her death, she was buried, not in the 
burying-place of the family, but at another spot, selected by 
herself ; and to this spot Captain Clarke, without any indica- 
tion from the family or otherwise, proceeded at once, as 
directly as if he had been present at the burial. Finally, on 
comparing notes with the old sexton, it appeared that the 
heavy rain of the morning had partially filled the grave, and 
that there were actually found in it two field-mice, drowned. 

This last incident, even if there were no other, might suf- 
fice to preclude all idea of accidental coincidence. 

The above was narrated to me by Captain Clarke himself,* 
with permission to use his name m attestation of its 

* In New York, on July 28, 1859. The narrative is written out from 
notes taken on board his schooner. 

f I originally intended to insert here a dream connected with a well- 
known incident in English history, and vouched for by Dr. Abercrombie in 
his " Intellectual Powers," pp. 218, 219. 

As there related, it is in substance to the effect that, eight days before 


If, as to the factdty of fer-sight or natural clairvoyance in 
dream, evidently substantiated by the preceding examples, 
any should be tempted to regard it as a miraculous gift, they 
would do well to bear in mind the fact that, while in some of 
the examples of this faculty we find cases in which life and 
death are at stake, others, equally authentic, are to be foimd 
of the most trivial character. 

Of the latter is the following example, for the accuracy of 
which Abercrombie vouches: — "A lady in Edinburgh had 
sent her watch to be repaired. A long time elapsed without 
her being able to recover it; and, after many excuses, she 
began to suspect that something was wrong. She now 
dreamed that the watchmaker's boy, by whom the watch was 
sent, had dropped it in the street, and had injured it in such 
a manner that it could not be repaired. She went to the 
master, and without any allusion to her dream, put the ques- 
tion to him directly, when he confessed that it was true."* 

In this case, nothing can be more ridiculous than to 
imagine that there was a miraculous intervention for the pur- 
pose of informing a lady why her watch was detained at the 
maker's; yet how extreme the improbability, also, that, 
among the ten thousand possible causes of that detention, 

the murder of Mr. Peroival, Chancellor of the Exchequer, in the lobby of the 
English House of Commons, in 1812, a gentleman, in Cornwall, saw, in 
dream thrice repeated, every particular of the murder, even to the dress of 
the parties, and was told (still in dream) thai it was the Chancellor who 
was shot ; all which made so much impression on the dreamer that he was 
only deterred from giving notice to Mr. Percival by the assurances of his 
friends that, if he did so, he would be treated as a fanatic. 

Dr. Carlyon, in his work already referred to, quotes and indorses the 
story, adding, " The dream in question occurred in Cornwall, to Mr. Willidms, 
of Scorrier House, still alive, (February, 1836,) and now residing at Calstock, 
Devon, from whose lips I have more than once heard the relation." 

There is, however, another and much more minute version of the story, 
given during Mr. Williams's life, in the (London) " Times" of August 16, 
1 828, and coming, as the editor states, from " a correspondent of unquestion- 
able veracity," in which, while Mr. Scorrier* s name and address are fur- 
nished, and all the particulars save one given by Dr. Abercrombie are 
strictly corroborated, that one fails. Dr. Abercrombie, who says he " derived 
the particulars from an eminent medical friend in England," mentions that 
the dream occurred eight dwys before the rmji/rder; while in the "Times" 
version it is expressly stated that it was " on the night of the 11th of May, 
1812," the sa/me on which Mr. Percvval was shot. 

Thus we are left in doubt whether this dream is of a prophetic or simply 
of a clairvoyant character. The one or the other it clearly is. But, in this 
uncertainty, after spending several days in collecting and collating the con- 
flicting accounts, I omit all but this brief notice of the incident. 

* Abercrombie's " Intellectual Powers," p. 215. 


chance should indicate to her, in dream, the very one, though 
apparently among the most far-fetched and unlikely, that was 
found exactly to coincide with the fact as it occurred ! 

The attempt is futile to explain away even such a simple 
narrative as the foregoing, unless we impeach the good faith 
of the narrator ; imagining, let us suppose, that he has wil- 
fully concealed some essential attendant circumstance, as, for 
instance, that the lady whose watch was injured had reason, 
from information obtained, to surmise that the boy might have 
dropped it. But, when Abercrombie vouches for the narra- 
tive as authentic, his voucher excludes, of course, suppositions 
which would deprive the anecdote of aU value whatever in 
the connection in which he publishes it. 

In the three examples which follow, and which are of a 
diflferent class from any of the preceding, we may go further 
yet, and assert that, unless the narrators directly lie, there 
are phenomena and laws connected with dreaming which 
have never yet been explained, and have scarcely been inves- 

The first was communicated to me in March, 1859, by Miss 

A. M. H , the talented daughter of a gentleman well 

known in the literary circles of Great Britain. I give it in 
her words. 


" We had a friend, S , who some years ago was in a 

delicate state of health, believed to be consumptive. He lived 
several hundred miles from us, and, although our family were 
intimately acquainted with himself, we knew neither his home 
*nor any of his family ; our intercourse being chiefly by letters, 
received at intervals. 

" One night, when there was no special cause for my mind 
reverting to our friend or to his state of health, I dreamed 
that I had to go to the town where he resided. In my dream 
I seemed to arrive at a particular house, into which I entered, 
and went straight up-stairs into a darkened chamber. There, 

on his bed, I saw S- , lying as if about to die. I walked 

up to him ; and, not mournfully, but as if filled with hopeftd 
assurance, I took his hand and said, ' No, you are not going 
to die. Be comforted : you wiU live.' Even as I spoke I 
seemed to hear an exquisite strain of music sounding through 
the room. 

" On awaking, so vivid were the impressions reioaiQirL^^ 


that, unable to shake them off even the next day, I conmmni- 
cated them to my mother, and then wrote to S— — ^ inquiring 
after his healthy but giving him no clue to the cause of my 

" His reply mformed lis that he had been yery iU-indeed, 
supposed to be at the point of death — ^and that my letter, 
which for several days he had been too ill to read, had been a 
great happiness to hun. 

" It was three years after this that my mother and I met 
S — - in London ; and, the conversation turning on dreams, 
I said, ' By the way, I had a singular dream about you three 
years ago, when you were so ill :' and I related it. As I pro- 
ceeded, I observed a remarkable expression spread over his 
face ; and when I concluded he said, with much emotion, 
'This is singular indeed; for I too had, a night or two before 
your letter arrived, a dream the very counterpart of yours. I 
seemed to myself on the point of death, and was taking final 
leave of my brother. ** Is there anything," he said, " I can do 
for you before you die P" " Yes," I replied, in my dream ; 

" two things. Send for my friend A. M. H . I must see 

her before I depart." " Impossible !" said my brother : " it 
would be an unheard-of thing : she would never come." " She 
would," I insisted, in my dream^ and added, " I would also 
hear my favourite sonata by Beethoven, ere I die." " But 
these are trifles," exclaimed my brother, almost sternly. 
" Have you no desires more earnest at so solemn an hour P" 
" No : to see my friend A. M. and to hear that sonata, that is 
all I wish." And, even as I spoke, in my dream I saw you 
enter. You walked up to the bed with a cheerful air ; and, 
while the music I had longed for filled the room, you spoke 
to me encouragingly, saying I should not die.' " 

Knowing the writer well, I can vouch "for this narration ; 
embodying, as it does, that rare and very remarkable phe- 
nomenon, two concurring and synchronous dreams. 

The next example is adduced by Abercrombie * as having 
been mentioned by Mr. Joseph Taylor f for an undoubted 
fact. It occurred to the late Rev. Joseph Wilkins, afterwards 
dissenting clergyman at Weymouth, in Dorsetshire, England, 
but then usher of a school in Devonshire, when he was 
twenty-three years of age ; to wit, in the year 1754. Mr. 

* " Intellectnal Powers," pp. 215, 216. 

f He relates it in his work entitled '* Danger of Premature Interment." 


Wilkms died November 22, 1800, in tlie seventieth year of 
his age. In the Obituary of the " Gentleman's Magazine," 
is a notice of his death, in which it is said of him, " For 
KberaKty of sentiment, generosity of disposition, and uniform 
integrity, he had few equals and hardly any superiors."* 

The original narrative was prepared and carefully preserved 
by himself in writing, and (the title only being added by me) 
is in these words : — 


" One night, soon after I was in bed, I fell asleep, and 
dreamed I was going to London. I thought it would not be 
much out of my way to go through Gloucestershire, and call 
upon my friends there. Accordingly, I set out, but remem- 
bered nothing that happened by the way tiU I came to my 
father's house ; when I went to the front door and tried to 
open it, but found it fast. Then I went to the back door, 
which I opened, and went in ; but, finding all the family were 
in bed, I crossed the rooms only, went up-stairs, and entered 
the chamber where my father and mother were in bed. As 
I went by the side of the bed on which my father lay, I found 
him asleep, or thought he was so ; then I went to the other 
side, and, having just turned the foot of the bed, I found my 
mother awake, to whom I said these words : — ' Mother, I am 
going a long journey, and am come to bid you good-bye.' 
Upon which she answered, in a fright, * Oh, dear son, thou 
art dead !' With this I awoke, and took no notice of it more 
than a common dream, except that it appeared to me very 
perfect. In a few days after, as soon as a letter could reach 
me, I received one by post from my father ; upon the receipt 
of which I was a little surprised, and concluded something 
extraordinary must have happened, as it was but a short time 
before I had a letter from my friends, and all were well. 
Upon opening it I was more surprised still, for my father 
addressed me as though I was dead, desiring me, if alive, or 
whosoever hands the letter might fall into, to write imme- 
diately; but if the letter should find me Hving, they con- 
cluded I should not live long, and gave this a% the reason of 
their fears : — ^That on a certain night, naming it, after they 
were in bed, my father asleep and my mother awake, she 
heard somebody try to open the front door ; but, finding it 

* " Gentleman's Magazine" for the year 1800, i^. VLX^, 


fast, he went to the back door, which he opened, came in, and 
came directly through the rooms up-stairs, and she perfectly 
knew it to be my step; but I came to her bedside, and 
spoke to her these words : — * Mother, I am going a long 
journey, and have come to bid you good-by/ Upon which 
she answered me in a fright — ' Oh, dear son, thou art dead !' 
—which were the circumstances and words of my dream. 
But she heard nothing more, and saw nothing more ; neither 
did I in my dream. Upon this she awoke, and told my 
father what had passed ; but he endeavoured to appease her, 
persuading her it was only a dream. She insisted it was no 
dream, for that she was as perfectly awake as ever she was, and 
had not the least inclination to sleep since she was in bed. 
From these circumstances I am apt to think it was at the very 
same instant when my dream happened, though the distance 
between us was about one hundred miles; but of this I 
cannot speak positively. This occurred while I was at the 
academy at Ottery, Devon, in the year 1754; and at this 
moment every circumstance is fresh upon my mind. I have, 
since, had frequent opportunities of talking over the affair 
with my mother, and the whole was. as fresh upon her mind 
as it was upon mine. I have often thought that her sensa- 
tions as to this matter were stronger than mine. What may 
appear strange is, that I cannot remember anything remark- 
able happening hereupon. This is only a plain, simple nar- 
rative of a matter of fact," 

That nothing extraordinary occurred in the sequel — ^no 
sudden death, tor example, oi which the above might have 
been construed into a warnings-is an instructive peculiarity 
in this case. Shall we say of it, as the superstitious usually 
say of such phenomena, that it ^as of a miraculous character ? 
Then we have a miracle without a motive. This single inci- 
dent, if we admit its authenticity, might alone suffice to dis- 
prove the common notions on this subject. And the total 
disconnection of the above facts from any alleged prediction 
or presentiment may stand as an additional voucher for their 
truth. There was nothing tending to mislead the imagina- 
tion ; no groilnd upon which any one would be tempted to 
erect a fanciful superstructure. 

If or does this narrative, inexplicable as the circumstances 
may appear, stand alone in its class. Another, remarkably 
Well authenticated, is given, amid fifty other narratives of 
veijr apocryphal seeming, by Baxter^ in hia weU-known 


" Certainty of the World of Spirits/'* It is from a brother 
clergjnnan, residing in Kent. I transcribe it literally, adding 
the title only, as fdlows : — 

THE mother's longing. 

" Reverend Sir : — 

" Being informed that you are writing about witchcraft 
and apparitions, I take the liberty, though a stranger, to send 
you the following relation : — 

"Mary, the wife of John Goffe, of Rochester, being 
afflicted with a long illness, removed to her father's house at 
West Mulling, wHch is about nine miles distant from her 
own. There she died June the 4th, this present year, 1691. 

" The day before her departure she grew very impatiently 
desirous to see her two children, whom she had left at home 
to the care of a nurse. She prayed her husband to hire a 
horse, for she must go home and die with the children. 
When they persuaded her to the contrary, telling her she 
was not fit to be taken out of her bed, nor able to sit on 
horseback, she entreated them, however, to try. * If I cannot 
sit,' said she, ' I will lie all along upon the horse ; for I must 
go to see my poor babes.' A minister who lives in the town 
was with her at ten o'clock that night, to whom she expressed 
good hopes in the mercies of God, and a willingness to die : 
'But,' said she, 'it is my misery that I cannot see my 
children.' Between one and two o'clock in the morning she 
fell into a trance. One widow Turner, who watched with her 
that night, says that her eyes wei:^ open and fixed, and her 
jaw fallen. She put her hand upon her mouth and nostrils, 
but could perceive no breath. She thought her to be in a fit ; 
and doubted whether she were dead or alive. 

" The next morning this dying woman told her mother 
that she had been at home with her children. * That is impos- 
sible,' said the mother ; ' for you have been in bed all the 
while.' * Yes,' replied the other, ' but I was with them last 
night when I was asleep.' 

"The nurse at Rochester, widow Alexander by name, 
affirms, and says she will take her oath on't, before a magi- 
strate, and receive the sacrament upon it, that a little before 
two o'clock that morning she saw the likeness of the said 
Mary Goffe come out of the next chamber, (where the elder 
child lay in a bed by itself,) the door being left open, and stood 

* "The Certainty of the World of Spirits," hy Bichard Baxter, London, 
1691, chap. yii. pp. 147 to 151. 


by ter bedside for about a quarter of an hour ; the younger 
cnild was there lying by her. Her eyes moved and her 
mouth went; but she said nothing. The nurse, moreover, 
says that she was perfectly awake; it was then daylight, 
being one of the longest days in the year. She sate up in 
her bed and looked stedfastly upon the apparition. In that 
time she heard the bridge-clock strike two, and a while, after 
said, * In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, what 
art thou?* Thereupon the appearance removed, and went 
away ; she slipped on her cloaths and followed, but what be- 
came on't she cannot tell. Then, and not before, she began 
to be grievously aflWghted, and went out of doors and walked 
upon the wharf (the house is just on the river-side) for some 
hours, only going in now and then to look to the children. 
At five-a-clock she went to a neighbour*s house, and knocked 
at the door ; but they would not rise. At six she went again ; 
then they rose, and let her in. She related to them all that 
had pass'd : they would persuade her she was mistaken or 
dreamt. But she confidently affirmed, * If ever I saw her in 
all my life, I saw her this night.* 

" One of those to whom she made the relation (Mary, the 
wife of John Sweet,) had a messenger came from Mulling 
that forenoon, to let her know her neighbour Gofie was dying, 
and desired to speak with her. She went over, the same day, 
and found her just departing. The mother, among other 
discourse, related to her how much her daughter had longed 
to see the children, and said she had seen them. This brought 
to Mrs. Sweet's mind what the nurse had told her that 
morning ; for till then she had not thought to mention it, 
but disguised it, rather, as the woman's disturbed imagina- 

" The substance of this I had related to me by John Car- 
penter, the father of the deceased, the next dJay after her 
burial. July the second, I fully discoursed the matter with 
the nurse and' two neighbours, to whose house she went that 
morning. Two days after, I had it from the mother, the 
minister that was with her in the evening, and the woman 
who sat up with her that last night. They all agree in the 
same story, and every one helps to strengthen the other's 
testimony. They appear to be sober, intelhgent persons, far 
enough off from designing to impose a cheat upon the world, or 
to manage a lye ; and what temptation they could lye under for 
so doing, I cannot conceive. 

" Sir, that God would bless your pious endeavours for the 


conviction of Atheists and Sadducees, and the promoting of 
true reKgion and godliness, and that this narrative may con- 
duee somewhat towards the furthering of that great work, is 
the hearty desire and prayer of 

" Your most faitnftd friend 

" And himible servant, 
"Tho. Tilson, Minister of Aylesford, 

nigh Maidstone, in Kent. 

« Aylesford, Jtdy 6, 1691." 

This story, simply and touchingly told, is a narrative of 
events alleged to have occnrred in the same year in which 
Baxter's work was published — ^to wit, in 1691, related by a 
clergyman of the vicinity — ^writing of circmnstances all of 
which had transpired within five weeks of the day on which 
he wrote, and most of which he had verified within five days 
of the date of his letter — ^namely, on the 2nd and 4th of 
July, 1691. The names and residences of all the witnesses 
are given, and the exact time and place of the occurrences to 
which they testify. It would be difficult to find any narrative 
of that day better attested. 

The exception which doubters will take to it is not, pro- 
bably, that the witnesses conspired to put forth a falsehood, 
for that is incredible ; but that the dying mother, inspired 
with praDtematural strength by the earnest longing after her 
children, had actually arisen during the night between the 
3rd and 4th of June, had found her way from West Mulling 
to Rochester, entered her dwelling and seen her children, and 
then returned, before morning, to her father's house ; that Mrs. 
Turner, as sick-nurses will, had fallen asleep, and, even if 
she did awake and miss her patient before her return, had 
refrained from saying a word about it, lest she might be 
taxed with neglect of duty. And, in support of such a 
hypothesis, scepticism might quote this anecdote, related by 
Sir Walter Scott.* 

A philosophical club at Plymouth were wont to hold their 
meetings, during the summer months, in a cave by the sea- 
shore, and at other times in a summer-house standing in the 
garden of a tavern, to the door of which garden some of the 
members, living adjacent, had private pass-keys. The mem- 
bers of the club presided alternately. On one occasion the 

* " Letters on Demonology and Witchcraft," by Sir Walter Scott, Bart..^ 
2nd ed., 1857, pp. 371 to 374. 


president of the evening was ill — ^reported to be on his death- 
bed ; but, from respect, his usual chair was left vacant. 
Suddenly, while the members were conversing about him, the 
door opened, and the appearance of the president entered the 
room, wearing a white wrapper and night-cap, and, presenting 
the aspect of death, took the vacant place, lifted an empty 
glass to his lips, bowed to the company, replaced his glass, 
and stalked out of the room. The appalled company, after 
talking over the matter, despatched two of their number to 
ascertain the condition of their president. When they re- 
turned with the frightful intelligence that he had just 
expired, the members, fearing ridicule, agreed that they would 
remain silent on the subject. 

Some years afterwards, the old woman who had acted as sick- 
nurse to the deceased member, being on her death-bed, confessed 
to her physician, who happened to be one of the club, thakt, 
during her sleep, the patient, who had been delirious, awoke 
and left the apartment ; that, on herself awaking, she hurried 
out of the house in search of him, met him returning, and 
replaced him in bed, where he immediately died. Fearing 
blame for her carelessness, she had refrained from saying any- 
thing of the matter. 

Scott, in quoting this and a few other simple explanations 
of what might seem extraordinary occurrences, remarks, that 
" to know what has been discovered in many cases, gives us 
the assurance of the ruling cause in aU."* Nothing can be more 
illogical. It is a troublesome thing to get at the truth ; but 
if we desire to get at it we must take the trouble. If it be a 
tedious process, it is the only safe one, to test each example 
by evidence sought and sifted (as the diplomatic phrase is) 
ad hoc. If, because we detect imposture in a single case, we slur 
over twenty others as equally unreliable, we are acting no wit 
more wisely than he who, having received in a certain town 
a bad dollar, presently concludes that none but counterfeits 
are to be met with there. It ought to make him more careftd 
in examining the next coin he receives ; nothing more. And 
so we, knowing that in some cases, as in this of the Plymouth 
club, appearances may deceive, should be upon our guard 
against such deceit — ^not conclude that in every analogous ex- 
ample the same or similar explanation wiU serve. 

Will it serve in the Mary Goffe case P The distance be- 
tween her father's house and her own was nine miles. Three 

• (( 

Bemonology and Witchcraft," p. 367. 


hours to go, and three to return, six hours in all — say from 
eleven till five o'clock — ^wonld have been required to travel it 
tjy a person in good health, walking, without stopping, at an 
ordinary pace. One can believe, as in the Plymouth example, 
that a patient, in delirium, may, very shortly before his death, 
walk a few himdred yards. But is it credible that a dying 
woman, so weak that her friends considered her unfit to be 
taken out of her bed, should walk eighteen miles unaided 
and alone ? The nurse declares that her patient fell into a 
trance between one and two o'clock, and that she put her 
hand upon her mouth and nostrils, but could perceive no 
breath. Suppose this a falsehood, invented to shelter negli- 
gence : can we imagine that, after a visit from a clergyman 
at ten, the nurse, attending a person hourly expected to die, 
should fall asleep before eleven o'clock, and not wake till after 
five, or that, if she did wake and find her patient gone, she 
would not alarm the house? But grant all these extreme 
improbabilities. Can we believe that the father and mother 
of a dying woman would both abandon her on the last night 
of her life for more than six hours P Or can we suppose, 
under such circumstances, that the patient could issue from 
her chamber and the house before eleven o'clock, and return 
to it after five, unseen by any one, either in going or re- 

Nor are these the only difficulties. Mrs. Gofie herself 
declared, next morning, that it was in dream only she had 
seen her children. Aiid if this was not true, and if she 
actually walked to Rochester, is it credible that she would but 
look, in silence, for a few minutes, on her sleeping babes, and 
then, quitting them without even a word of mrewell, recom- 
mence the weary way to her father's house P When she so 
earnestly begged her husband to hire a horse, what was the 
argument with which she urged her request P " She must go 
home and die with the children." 

I submit to the judgment of the reader these considerations. 
Let him give to them the weight to which he may deem 
them entitled: But if, finally, he incline to the theory of a 
nocturnal journey by the patient, then I beg of him to con- 
sider in what manner he will dispose of the parallel case — 
that of the Rev. Mr. Wilkins, where the distance between 
mother and son was a hundred miles P 

Abercrombie, admitting the facts of this latter case as 
Wilkins states them, merely says, "This singular dreapa 

136 abercrombie's opinion. 

must have originated in some strong mental impression which 
had been made on both individuals about the same time ; and 
to have traced the source of it would have been a subject of 
great interest." 

I cannot suppose that Abercrombie here means a mental 
impression accidentally made on mother and son at the same 
time. He was too good a logician not to know whither such 
a doctrine as that would lead. If we are to imagine all the 
details adduced, as the fruitless attempt to enter the front 
door, the entering by the back door, the going up-stairs and 
passing on to the paternal bedchamber, the exact terms of the 
question, the precise words of the reply ; finally, the cessation 
of the dream or vision by mother and son at the very same 
point — if, I say, we are to permit ourselves to interpret coin- 
cidences so numerous and minutely particular as these to be 
the mere effect of chance, where will our scepticism stop? 
Perhaps not imtil we shall have persuaded ourselves, also, 
that this world, with all it contains, is but the result of a for- 
tuitous combination. 

But if , as is doubtless the case. Dr. Abercrombie meant to 
intimate that this simultaneous impression on two distant 
minds must have occurred in accordance with some yet undis- 
covered psychological law, which it would be interesting to 
trace out, we may well agree with him in opinion. 

It does not appear, however, that he regarded the incident 
in any other light than as an example of coinciding and syn- 
chronous dreams. Whether that be the true hypothesis may 
be questioned. In another chapter* will be adduced such 
evidence as I have obtained that the appearance of a living 
person at a greater or less distance from where that person 
actually is, and perhaps usually where the thoughts or 
affections of that person may be' supposed, at the moment, to 
be concentrated, is a phenomenon of not infrequent occur- 
rence. If it be admitted, it may furnish the true explanation 
of the Wilkins dream, the Gofife dream, and others similar in 

The ingenious author of the "Philosophy of Mysterious 
Agents," who eschews ever}i;hing like Spiritualism, in 
dealing with the Wilkins narrative, of which he admits 
the authenticity, says, "It certainly shows a strange and 
hitherto unknown physical agent in or by which the brain 

* See Book IV. chap, ii., on " Apparitions of the Living." 


may act even at a great distance, and produce physical results 
perfectly representing the cerebral action when the mind's 
controlling power is suspended."* 

If this, as may happen, should seem to the reader some- 
what obscure, let him, to aid his conceptions, take another 
paragraph. After copying the story itself, Mr. Rogers sub- 
joins, "This is easily accounted for by the method we are 
considering this class of phenomena ; and we can see no other 
in which there are not insuperable difficulties. In this case 
we have again the condition required for the play of mimdane 
powers in reference to the brain ; and that in which the brain, 
as a point, being irritated, may act, and by the mimdane 
agency represent its action (as in this case) fifty miles or 

more distant.''! 

It does not strike me that by this method of Mr. Rogers 

the strange phenomenon we have been considering is, as he 

thinks, easily accounted for. How does he account for it ? 

The doctrine of chance, he sees, is quite imtenable. The 

doctrine of Spiritualism he repudiates. To avoid both, he 

suggests that the brain of the son, in Devonshire, being in 

activity during the suspended volition incident to sleep, 

represented its action on the brain of the mother, a hundred 

miles, off, in Gloucestershire ; and that this represented action 

was due to a mundane agency strange and unknown. 

To say that the two mind^ were, in some mode or other, 

placed in relation, is only an admission that the coincidence 

of sensations and ideas in both was not fortuitous. If, as we 

may freely further admit, the agency be, as Mr. Rogers 

alleges, strange and unknown, why assume it to be physical P 

And by such assumption do we account for the phenomenon — 

not to say easily, but at all? Have we done more than 

employ vague words ? — and words, vague as they are, which 

we do not seem justified in employing P What do we know 

about a brain, irritated, acting physically at a hundred miles' 

distance P What do we mean by such a brain representing its 

action, at that distance, on another P What sort of mundane 

agency can we imagine as the instrument of such action? 

And if we are to esteem a mere physical agent capable of 

thus connecting, without regard to distance, mind with mind, 

what need of any hypothetical soul or spirit to account for 

the entire wondrous range of mental phenomena ? 

' - ■ 

* " Philosophy of Mysterious Agents, Human and Mundane," by E. C. 
Eogers, Boston, 1853, p. 283. 
t Work citedy pp. 284, 286. 


Here again it behoves us to ask whither, in an attempt to 
escape the hypothesis of spiritual agency, our steps are in- 
vited P To the confines, it would seem, of materialism. 

As the class of phenomena we have been here examining 
will usually be regarded as among the least credible of those 
connected with the subject of dreaming, I may state that the 
above are not the only examples on record. Kemer, in his 
" Seeress of Prevorst," furnishes one, attested by himself and 
by a physician attending the seeress's father.* Sinclair 
records another ;t but how good the authority is in this last 
case I am not able to say. 

An important inquiry remains unbroached. Are there 
any reliable cases presenting, or seeming to present, evidence 
that the faculty of prescience in dreams is an actual phe- 
nomenon, and that this faculty is sometimes enjoyed, as clair- 
voyance is said to be, specially by certain persons ? Are there 
— as the phrase has been used in regard to the alleged second- 
sight of the Scottish Highlands — seers, thus habitually gifted ? 

Distinguished men have asserted that there are; Goethe, 
for example, in regard to his maternal grandfather. I 
translate from his Autobiography. 



"But what still increased the veneration with which we 
regarded this excellent old man was the conviction that he 
possessed the gift of prophecy, especially in regard to matters 
that concerned him and his. It is true that he confided the 
full knowledge and particulars of this faculty to no one ex- 
cept our grandmother; yet we children knew well enough 
that he was often informed, in remarkable dreams, of things 
that were to happen. For example, he assured his wife, at a 
time when he was still one of the youngest magistrates, that 
at the very next vacancy he would be appointed to a seat on 
the board of aldermen. And when, very soon after, one of 
the aldermen was struck with a fatal stroke of apoplexy, he 
ordered that, on the day when the choice was to be made 
by lot, the house should be arranged and everything pre- 

* " Die Seherin von Prevorst," by Jostmns Kemer, 4th edition, Stuttgart, 
1846, pp. 132 to 134. 

t In his " Satan'.s Invisible World Discovered," Edinburgh, 1789. It is 
the story of Sir Greorge Horton, who is stated to have dreamed that he 
interfered to prevent his two sons fighting a duel, and actually to have 
appeared to them, and prevented it, sixty miles ofi^ at the same time. 


pared to receive the guests coining to congratulate him on his 
elevation. And, sure enough, it was for him that was drawn 
the golden ball which decides the choice of aldermen in 
Frankfort. The dream which foreshadowed to him this 
event he confided to his wife, as follows. He found himself 
in session with his colleagues, and everything was going on 
as usual, when an alderman (the same who afterwards died) 
descended from his seat, came to my grandfather, politely 
begged him to take his place, and then left the chamber. 
Something similar happened on occasion of the provost's 
death. It was usual in such case to make great haste to 
fill the vacancy, seeing that there was always ground to fear 
that the emperor, who used to nominate the provost, would 
some day or other re-assert his ancient privilege. On this 
particular occasion the sheriff received orders at midnight 
to call an extra session for next morning. When, in his 
rounds, this oflicer reached my grandfather's house, he begged 
for another bit of candle, to replace that which had just 
burned down in his lantern. 'Give him a whole candle,' 
said my grandfather to the women : * it is for me he is taking 
all this trouble.' The event justified his words. He was 
actually chosen provost. And it is worthy of notice that, the 
person who drew in his stead having the third and last 
chance, the two silver balls were drawn first, and thus the 
golden one remained for him at the bottom of the bag. 

" His dreams were matter-of-fact, simple, and without a 
trace of the fantastic or the superstitious, so far, at least, as 
they ever became known to us. I recollect, too, that when, 
as a boy, I used to look over his books and papers, I often 
found, mixed up with memoranda about gardening, such 
sentences as these : — * Last night ♦ ♦ * came to me and 
told me * * *' — ^the name and the circumstance being 
written in cipher. Or, again, it ran thus : — ' Last night I 
saw * * *' — ^the rest in characters unintelligible to me. 
It is further remarkable, in this connection^ that certain 
persons who had never possessed any extraordinary power 
sometimes acquired it, for the time being, when they remained 
near him ; for example, the faculty of presentiment, by visible 
signs, in cases of sickness or death occurring at the tmie, but 
at a distance. Yet none either of his children or of his^ 
grandchildren inherited this peculiarity."* 

The particular examples here cited may be explained 

* ** Aus meinem Leben," by J. W. von Goethe, Stattgart, 1853, vol. i. ^13. 
41 to 43. 


away ; but it is evident that Goette, who had the best means 
of knowing, regarded the proofs that his grandfather really 
was endowed with this prophetic instinct to be conclusive. 

Macario mentions a similar case, the evidence for which 
seems imquestionable. I translate from his work on Sleep. 


" Here is a fact which occurred in my own family, and for 
the authenticity of which I vouch. Madame Macario set 
out, on the 6th of July, 1854, for Bourbon rArchambault, 
for the benefit of the waters there, in a rheimiatic affection. 

One of her cousins, Monsieur , who inhabits Moulins, 

and who habitually dreams of anything extraordinary that is 
to happen to him, had, the night before my wife set out, the 
following 3ream. He thought he saw Madame Macario, 
accompanied by her little daughter, take the railroad-cars, to 
commence her journey to the Bourbon baths. When he 
awoke, he bade his wue prepare to receive two cousins with 
whom she was yet unacquainted. They would arrive, he 
told her, that day at Moulms, and would set out in the even- 
ing for Bourbon. ' They will surely not fail,' he added, * to 
pay us a visit.' In effect, my wife and daughter did arrive 
at Moulins; but, as the weather was very bad, the rain 
falling in torrents, they stopped at the house of a friend near 
the railroad station, and, their time being short, did not visit 
their cousin, who lived in a distant quarter of the town. He, 
however, was not discouraged. * Perhaps it may be to-mor- 
row,' he said. But the next day came, and no one appeared. 
Being thoroughly persuaded, nevertheless, on account of his 
experience in finding such dreams come true, that his cousins 
had arrived, he went to the office of the diHgence that runs 
from Moulins to Bourbon, to inquire if a lady, accompanied 
by her daughter (describing them) had not set out the even- 
ing before for Bourbon. They replied in the affirmative. 
He then asked where that lady had put up at Moulins, went 
to the house, and there ascertained that aU the particulars 
of his dream were exactly true. In conclusion, I may be 

allowed to remark that Monsieur had no knowledge 

whatever of the illness nor of the projected journey of Madame 
Macario, whom he had not seen for several years." * 

* " Du Sommeil, des R6ves, et du Somnambulisme," par M. Macario, p. 82. 
The incident reminds one of Scott's lines, in which, in the " Lady of the 
Lake,'' Eiien addresses Fitz- James :— > 


The remarkable feature in the above is the confidence of 

Monsieur in the presage of his dream, indicating that 

he had good reason to trust in similar intimations. For the 
rest, it is difficult to call in question the truth or the accuracy 
of an observation as to which the evidence is so direct and 
the authority so respectable. 

Considering the extraordinary character of this alleged 
facidty of foresight, or prophetic instinct, in dreams, I esteem 
myself fortunate in being able to adduce several other weU- 
authenticated narratives directly bearing upon it. It does 
not appear,* however, that in these cases, as in the preceding, 
the dreamers were habitual seers. 

In the first, a highly improbable event was foreshadowed, 
with distinctness, a year before it occurred. I had the nar- 
rative in writing from a lady, whose name, if it were proper 
for me to give it, would be to the public an all-sufficient 
voucher for the truth of the story. 


"Mrs. Torrens, the widow of General Torrens, now re- 
siding at Southsea, near Portsmouth, about a year previous 
to the Indian mutiny, dreamed that she saw her daughter, 
Mrs. Hayes, and that daughter's husband, Captain Hayes, 
attacked by sepoys; and a frightful murderous struggle 
ensued, in which Captain Hayes was kiQed. 

" She wrote instantly to entreat that her daughter and the 
children would presently come home ; and, in consequence of 
her extreme importimity, her grandchildren arrived by the 
following ship. This was before an idea was entertained of 
the mutiny. I have seen these children often, in safety, at 
Southsea. Mrs. Hayes remained with her husband, and suf- 
fered the whole horrors of the siege at Lucknow, where 
Captain Hayes fell by the hands of sepoys — ^who first put out 
his eyes, and then killed him." 

I shall now present an anecdote, as directly authenticated 

-As far as yesternight 

Old AUan-Bane foretold your plight ; 
A grey-haired sire, whose look intent 
Was on the visioned fnture bent. 
He saw your steed, a dappled grey, 
Lie dead beneath the birchen way ; 
Painted exact your form and mien, 

Your hunting-suit of Lincoln green 

• • # # « 

And bade that all should ready \)q 
To grace a guest of &ir degree. 


as either of the foregoing, which I find in the Appendix to 
Dr. Binns's " Anatomy of Sleep." * It was communicated to 
the author by the Hon. Mr. Talbot, father of the present 
Countess of Shrewsbury, and is given in his own words, and 
imder his own signature (the title only added by me), as 
follows : — 


" In the year 1768, my father, Matthew Talbot, of Castle 
Talbot, coimty Wexford, was much surprised at the recur- 
rence of a dream three several times during the same night, 
which caused him to repeat the whole circum^nce to his 
lady the next morning. He dreamed that he had arisen as 
usual, and descended to his library, the morning being hazy. 
He then seated himself at his secretaire to write ; when, hap- 
pening to look up a long avenue of trees opposite the window, 
he perceived a man in a blue jacket, mounted on a white 
horse, coming towards the house. My father arose, and 
opened the window : the man, advancing, presented hiTn with 
a roll of papers, and told him they were invoices of a vessel 
that had been wrecked and had drifted in during the night 
on his son-in-law's (Lord Mount Morris's) estate, hard by, 
and signed ' Bell and Stephenson/ 

" My father's attention was called to the dream only from 
its frequent recurrence ; but when he foimd himself seated at 
his desk on the misty morning, and beheld the identical 
person whom he had seen in his dream, in the blue coat, 
riding on a grey horse, he felt surprised, and, opening the 
window, waited the man's approach. He immediately rode 
up, and, drawing from his pocket a packet of papers, gave 
them to my father, stating that they were invoices belonging 
to an American vessel which had been wrecked and drifted 
upon his lordship's estate ; that there was no person on board 
to lay claim to the wreck ; but that the invoices were signed 
* Stephenson and BellJ 

" I assure you, my dear sir, that the above actually oc- 
curred, and is most faithfully given ; but it is not more extra- 
ordinary than other examples of the prophetic powers of the 
mind or soul during sleep, which I have frequently heard 

"Yours, most faithfuUy, 

" William Talbot. 

" Alton Towers, October 23, 1842." 

* "The Anatomy of Sleep," by Edward Binns,. MJD., 2nd ed., London, 
1845, pp, 459, 460. 


In the above we find the same strange element of slight 
inaccuracy mixed with marvellous coincidence of detail al- 
ready several times noticed. The man with his blue coat ; 
the white or grey horse ; the vessel wrecked on Lord Mount 
Morris's estate ; the roU of invoices presented — ^all exhibit 
complete correspondence between the foreshadowing dream 
and the actual occurrences. The names on the invoices, too, 
correspond; but the order in which they stand is reversed: 
in the dream, " Bell and Stephenson ;" on the invoices them- 
selves, " Stephenson and Bell." 

Lest I should weary the reader by too much extending 
this chapter, and by too great an accumulation of examples, 
which might (as to many of the points noticed) be multiplied 
without lunit, wlule perhaps those cited may suffice as a fair 
specimen of the whole, I shall adduce but one more — ^an 
example quite as remarkable as any of the preceding, of pre- 
vision in dream ; a narrative which was verified by one of 
the most accredited writers on intellectual philosophy (for 
such Dr. Abercrombie must be admitted to be), and for 
which, in addition, I have obtained an important voucher. 
Dr. Abercrombie, after declaring that he is " enabled to give 
it as perfectly authentic," relates it (without the title here 
given) in these words :— 


" A lady dreamed that an aged female relative had been 
murdered by a black servant ; and the dream occurred more 
than once.* She was then so much impressed by it that she 
went to the house of the lady to whom it related, and pre- 
vailed upon a gentleman to watch in an adjoining room 
during the following night. About three o'clock in the 
morning, the gentleman, hearing footsteps on the stairs, left 
his place of concealment, and met the servant carrying up a 
quantity of coals. Being questioned as to where he was 
going, ne replied, in a confused and hurried manner, that he 
was going to mend his mistress's fire ; which, at three o'clock 
in the morning, in the middle of summer, was evidently 
impossible ; and, on further investigation, a strong knife was 
found concealed beneath the coals."t 

* It is worthy of attention that many of these remarkable dreams occnr 
more than once, as if (one might suppose) to produce on the dreamer the 
deeper impression. In the preceding dream by Mr. Talbot, in that which 
disclosed the death of Percival, in Mrs. Griffith's warning dream^ in. Aldsst^ 
man Clay's dream, and others, the vision was fhiloe Te^^Q(ai.\£i^ 

t "InteZ/ectoaZ Powers," p. 214, 


This narrative, remarkable as it is, is not given in sufficient 
detail. It does not intimate whether the lady who dreamed 
knew or not, at the time, that her aged relative had a negro 
servant. Nor does it say anything of the subsequent conduct 
and fate of that servant. Nor does it furnish the names of 
the parties. I am, fortunately, enabled to supply these de- 

While in Edinburgh, in October, 1858, I had occasion to 
submit this chapter to a lady — ^the daughter of a distinguished 
statesman, and herself well known by numerous and suc- 
cessful works — ^who, in returning it to me, kindly appended 
to the above narrative the following note : — 

" This lady was Mrs. Rutherford, of Egerton, grand-aunt 
of Sir Walter Scott ; and I have myself heard the story from 
the family. The lady who dreamed was the daughter of Mr. 
Rutherford, then absent from home. On her return, she was 
astonished, on entering her mother's house, to meet the very 
black servant whom she had seen in her dream, as he had been 
engaged during her absence. This man was, long afterwards, 
hung for murder ; and, before his execution, he confessed that 
he had intended to assassinate Mrs. Rutherford." 

The story, with this attesting voucher — giving the names 
of the persons referred to, and supplying particulars which 
greatly add to the value of the illustration — ^is, I think, the 
very strongest example of prevision in dream I ever met with. 
Let us briefly scrutinize it. 

In the first place, the dream indicated two particulars : the 
one, that the dreamer's mother would be murdered ; the other, 
that the murder would be committed by a negro. Had the 
daughter known that her mother had a black servant, it would 
not be proper to regard these as separate contingencies: 
indeed, something in the man's manner might be imagined to 
have created suspicion, and so given shape to the dream. 
But the daughter did not know, when she dreamed, that her 
mother had a negro servant. She was astonished to meet 
him, on her return home. This is one of the strongest points 
in the case ; for it precludes all argument that the negro's 
concern in the matter was naturally suggested to the dreamer. 

Here, then, is the indication in dream of two independent 
specifications, correctly to have determined either of which 
would have been, if an accident, one of which the mathema- 
tical expectation is exceedingly small. In the quiet of 
domestic life, in a civilized country, and a respectable rank, 
a deliberate murder does not occur to one out of millions of 
persons. There were millions to one, thea, agjainst the for- 


tuitous predicting, in the case of a particular individual, of 
that single event. So, again, in regard to the other specifi- 
cation. Negroes are rare in Scotland. Had the dream 
merely been that a negro would commit a murder in Edin- 
burgh, without designating the murdered person, how diffi- 
cult to imagine, in case the event, occurring within a few 
days, had justified the prediction that such fulfilment was 
purely accidental ! But when there is question of the double 
event, the mathematical expectation diminishes till, in prac- 
tice, it may be regarded as inappreciable. The chances 
against that double event, as a purely fortuitous occurrence, 
are such as we constantly act upon in daily life with the same 
assurance as upon certainty itself. 

It is true mat, with that inexplicable dimness of vision 
which seems so often to characterise similar phenomena, the 
coming event is indicated only, not distinctly foretold. The 
daughter's dream was that her mother had been murdered ; 
and this had not taken place. The effect upon her mind, 
however, aided by the repetition of her dream, was such as to 
cause her to take precautions against such a contingency in 
the future : and it so happened that on the very night the 
precaution was taken the attempt was made. Here is a third 

Was this aU accident ? Was there no warning given ? 
Was there no intention, by acting in dream on the d^aughter's 
mind, to save the mother's life ? If we answer these ques- 
tions in the negative, are we not discarding the clearest rules 
of evidence which, at the bidding of reason, we have adopted 
for the government of daily life ? 

But if, on the other hand, we admit that there was a warn- 
ing — ^that there was an intention — ^then, who gave that 
warning ? And what intelligence was it that intended ? 

It may be regarded as a mere cutting of the Gordian knot 
to assume the theory of spiritual guardianship.* Yet, if that 
theory be rejected, have we any other with which to supply 
its place? 

But, without touching further for the present on this latter 
hypothesis, let us here pause for a moment to reflect whither 
the actual evidence at which we have arrived — cidled, surely, 
jfrom no suspicious source — ^is leading us on ? If we assent to 
it — ^if, with Abercrombie and the indorser of his narrative 

* See, in this connection, the narratives entitled " The Rejected Suitor^" 
and ** How Senator Linn's Life was Saved :" botla. in. Boo"^^ . 


touching Mrs. Rutherford's negro servant, we feel compelled 
to admit that narrative as a fact — shall we imore the legiti- 
mate, the ima voidable consequences P Shall we continue, 
with Macnish, to declare that the belief in the occasional 
power of dreams to give us an insight into futurity is " an 
opinion so singularly unphilosophical" as to be unworthy of 
notice P Shall we put aside, unexamined, with contempt or 
derision, instead of scrutinising with patient care, the preten- 
sions of certain observers as to the higher phenomena said to 
characterise some states of somnambulism — as clear-sight, far- 
sight, and this very faculty of prevision P If we are to speak of 
the singularly unphilosophical, such a proceeding as this 
would surely supply a remarkable example of it. 

And is there not abimdant justification for the remark here- 
tofore made, thai it behoves us, if we would obtain a compre- 
hensive view of this subject, to study all the various hypnotic 
states in their connection with each other P Before we under- 
take the wonders of mesmerism, let us dispose of the greater 
wonders of sleep. 

Finally, that such inquiry should be slighted is the less 
defensible, seeing that it occurs in Christian coimtries, where 
the Bible is read and its teachings venerated. But if there 
be one doctrine there taught plainly, imequivocally, by direct 
allegation and by numerous examples, in the Old Testament 
as in the New, it is the same which has prevailed, as Cicero 
reminds us,* in every nation, whether polished and learned, 
or barbarous and unlettered ; the doctrme, namely, that in 
the visions of the night men occasionally receive more than 
is taught them throughout all the waking vigilance of the 

The illustrations of such a doctrine are scattered all over 
the Bible. The Old Testament especially is fiill of them : 
witness the dreams of Abimelech, of Pharaoh, of Saul, of 
Solomon, of Nebuchadnezzar; and, again, of Jacob, of 
Laban, of Daniel. But, passing by the Old to the dreams of 
the New Testament, we find that upon certain of these re- 
pose, in a measure, some of the very articles of faith cardinal 
to the creed of the orthodox church, whether Protestant or 
Catholic. Such are the dreams of the Wise Men of the £ast, 
of Joseph, of the wife of Pilate. 

It is very true, and should be here taken into account, that 
most writers who deny to dreams any extraordinary or prophetic 

* " De Divinatione," Ub. i. §§ 1, 2, and 3. 


character make exception, directly or by impKcation, of those 
recorded in Scripture. But Scripture itself nowhere autho- 
rizes any such distinction. Elihu announces a general truth 
in general terms : — " In slumberings upon the bed, God 
openeth the ears of men and sealeth meir instruction." Shall 
we limit this to the men of any particular age P By what 
warrant ? By a similar licence, can we not explain away any 
text whatever P that, for instance, with which Elihu closes his 
eloquent remonstrance : — "God respectethnot any that are wise 
of heart." Many will be found disr^arding, in practice, the 
impHed warning against presimiptuous self-sujEciency, but 
few bold enough to allege that, though the observation 
applied to the self- wise in the times of Job, it is antiquated 
and inapplicable, in these latter days, to ourselves. 

If we would not be found thus bold in casuistry — ^if, in 
connection with the phenomena here briefly and imperfectly 
examined, we accept and take home in our own case the 
lesson embodied in Elihu's words — ^we may be induced to 
conclude that it behoves us to devote more time and attention 
to an important and neglected subject,* than men have 
liiiherto bestowed upon it, before authoritatively pronouncing, 
as to all modem dreams whatever, that they are the mere 
purposeless wanderings of a vagrant imagination ; that they 
never exhibit an intelligence which exceeds that of the 
waking sense ; that never, imder any circimistances, do they 
disclose the distant or foreshadow the fixture ; that never, in 
any case, do they warn or avert : in a word, that all visions 
of the night, without exception, are utterly inconsequent, 
&ntastic, and imreliable. 

* Abercrombie conclndes his chapter on DFeaming as follows : " The 
Blight outline which has now been given of dreaming may serve to show 
that the subject is not only carious, but important. It appears to be 
Worthy of careM investigation ; and there is much reason to believe that 
an extensive collection of authentic facts, carefiilly analyzed, would unfold 
Ixrinciples of very great interest in reference to the philosophy of the mental 
pawem,**'*-InteUectudl Powers, p. 224. 







" For this is not a matter of to-day 
Or yesterday, but hath been from all time ; 
And none can tell ns whence it came, or how." 


That extraordinary and influential movement, commonly de- 
nominated spiritual, wMch has overrun the United States, 
and has spread hence, to a greater or less extent, over every 
coimtry of Europe, had its origin in a phenomenon, or alleged 
phenomenon, of the character which has usually been termed 
a haunted house. 

In a work like the present, then, it is fitting that this 
class of phenomena, slighted and derided by modem Sad- 
duceeism though they be, should have place as worthy of seri- 
ous examination. 

And in prosecuting such an examination, by citing the 
best-attested examples, the fair question is not, whether in 
these each minute particular is critically exact ; — ^for what 
history, ancient or modem, would endure such a test ? — ^but 
whether, in a general way, the narratives bear the impress of 
truth ; whether there be sufiicient evidence to indicate that 
they are based on a substantial reality. In such an inquiry, let 
us take with us two considerations : remembering, on the one 
hand, that, when the passions of wonder and fear are strongly 
excited, men's imaginations are prone to exaggerate ; and, on 
the other, that, as elsewhere set forth,* there are no collective 

The fair question is, then, whether, even if this haunting 
of houses be often a mere popular superstition, there be yet 
no actual truth, no genuine phenomena, imderlying it. 

* See next chapter, where the distinction is made between Uliision and 
halVudTiation ; the one based on a reality, the other a mere disease of the 



In winnowing, from out a large apocryphal mass, the com- 
paratively few stories of this class which come down to us 
in authentic form, vouched for by respectable cotemporary 
authority, sustained by specifications of time and place and 
person, backed sometimes by judicial oaths, one is forcibly 
struck by the observation that, in thus making the selection, 
we find thrown out aU stories of the ghostly school of horror, all 
skeleton spectres with the worms creeping in and out, all 
demons with orthodox horns and tail, all midnight lights 
burning blue, with other similar embellishments ; and there 
remain a comparatively sober and prosaic set of wonders— 
inexpKcable, indeed, by any known physical agency, but shorn 
of that gaudy supematuralism in which Anne Radcliffe de- 
lighted, and which Horace ^alpole scorned not to employ. 

In its place, however, we find an element which by some may 
be considered quite as startling and improbable — I allude to 
the mischievous, boisterous, and freakish aspect which these 
disturbances occasionally assume. So accustomed are we to 
regard all spiritual visitations, if such there be, as not serious 
and important only, but of a solemn and reverential character, 
that our natural or acquired repugnance to admit the reality 
of any phenomena not explicable by mundane agency is 
greatly increased when we discover in them mere whim and 

It is very certain that, if disturbances of the character 
alluded to be the work of disembodied spirits, it appears to be 
of spirits of a comparatively inferior order ; as imps, we might 
say, of frolic and misrule ; not wicked, it would seem, or, if 
wicked, restrained from inflicting serious injury, but, as it 
were, tricksy elves, sprites full of pranks and levities — ^a sort 
of Pucks — esprits espikgles, as the French phrase it ; or as 
the Germans, framing an epithet expressly for this supposed 
class of spirits, have expressed it, poller geister. 

If it may be plausibly argued that we cannot reasonably 
imagine spirits revisiting the scenes of their former existence 
with no higher aim, for no nobler purpose, than these narra- 
tives disclose, it must be conceded also, for the very same 
reason, that men were not likely to invent stories of such a 
character with no actual foimdation whereupon to build. 
Imagination, once at work, would not restrict itself to knock- 
ings, and scrapings, and jerking furniture about, and teasing 
children, and similar petty annoyances. It would conjure up 
something more impressive and mysterious. 

But my business here is with facts, not t\iftonft^\ VvScl^^^ 


we find, not with what, according to our present notions, we 
might expect to find. How much is there in nature^ which, 
if we sat down beforehand to conjecture probabilities, would 
directly beUe ouo: anticipations ! 

And in making choice of facts, or what purport to be so, I 
shall not go back fiirther than two centuries.* Until printing 
became a common art, and books were fi-eely read beyond the 
limits of a learned and restricted circle, a narrative of ques- 
tionable events could not obtain that extended circulation 
which would expose it to general criticism, afford fair chance 
for refutation, and thus give to fixture ages some guarantee 
against the fi^equent errors of an ex parte statement. 

* Those who are disposed to amuse themselYes (for, in truth, it amounts 
to little more than amnsement) may find in yariouB ancient writers narra- 
tives of haunted houses, apparently as well attested as any other portion 
of the history of the time. Pliny the Younger has one (Plm. Jwnior^ 
Epist. ad Sv/rami. lib. vii. cap. 27) which he relates as haying oconrred to 
the philosopher Athenodoms. The sceptical Lnoian in PMlo-pseud, p. 840) 
relates another of a man named Ariguotes. In later days, Antonio Tor- 
quemada (in his '^Flores Curiosas," Salamanca, 1570) has the story of a 
certain Vasquez de Ayola. In aU these three oases a spectre id alleged 
to haye disappeared on a spot where, on d%ging, a skeleton was found. 
Alexander ab Alexandre, a learned Neapolitan lawyer of the fifteenth cen- 
tury, states, as a fact of common notoriety, that in Home there are a num- 
ber of houses so much out of repute as being haunted that no one will 
yenture to inhabit them ; and he adds, that, desiring to test the truth of 
what was said in regard to one of these houses, he, along with a friend 
named Tuba and others, spent a night there, when they were terrified by 
the appearance of a phantom and by the most frightM noises and dis- 
turbanoes. — Alexa/nder a& Alewomd^o^ lib. y. cap. 23. 

A hundred similar cases might be adduced, especially finom the writings 
of the ancient fathers, as St. Augustin, St. Grermain, St. Gregory, and 

But no reliable inference can be drawn from these yague old stories, except 
the universal prevalence, in all ages, of the same idea. 



'^ I have no hnmonr nor delight in telling stories, and do not publish 
these for the gratification of those that haye ; bnt I record them as argxuneuts 
for the confirmation of a tmth, which hath, indeed, been attested by mnlti- 
tudes of the like evidences in aU places and timeB."— Bev. Joseph 6la.nyil : 
Pref. to his Saddudsmus 7}rmmphatus, 

The first narrative I select was the object of interest and 
controversy all over England for twenty years and more, and 
was publisned, almost at the time of the alleged occurrences, 
by a man of character and station. 


Disturbances at Mr. Mompesson^s house at Tidworth, 

1661 TO 1663. 

The Rev. Joseph Glanvil, chaplaia-in-ordinary to Charles 
II., was a man well and favourably known in his day, as much 
by various theological works as by his defence of the Baconian 
philosorfiy, and as the champion, against certain detractors, 
of the Koyal Society, of which he was a member. 

In the year 1666 he published his "Sadducismus Trium- 
phatus," in which, to sustain the popular opinions of that 
age on the subject of witches and apparitions, he includes 
what he calls a "choice collection of modem relations.'* 
Most of these are from hearsay, some based on the confessions 
of the accused and other evidences now admitted to be un- 
trustworthy ; but the first aod principal relation, entitled by 
Glanvil " The Daemon of Tedworth," is of a different cha- 
racter, being a narrative of events, occurring at intervals, 
throughout two entire years, in the house of a gentleman of 
character and standing, Mr. John Mompesson, of Tedworth, 
in the county of Wilts ; a portion of which events were wit- 
nessed by Glanvil himself. 

It appears that in March, 1661, Mr. Mompesson, in his 
magisterial capacity, had caused to be arrested a vagrant 
drummer, who had been annoying the coimtir by noisy de- 
mands for charity, and that he had caused. \i:^ ftixrccL \si \5Ri 


taken from him, and left in the bailiff's hands. This fact 
Mr. Mompesson imagined to be connected with the disturb- 
ances that followed, and of which the chief details are here 
given, quoted literally from Glanvil's work. 

" About the middle of April following (that is, in 1661), 
when Mr. Mompesson was preparing for a journey to London, 
the bailiff sent the drum to his house. When he was re- 
turned from that journey, his wife told him that they had 
been much affrighted in the night by thieves, and that the 
house had like to have been broken up. And he had not 
been at home above three nights when the same noise was 
heard that had disturbed the family in his absence. It was a 
very great knocking at his doors and the outside of his 
house. Hereupon he got up, and went about the house with 
a brace of pistols in his hands. He opened the door where 
the great knocking was, and then he heard the noise at 
another door. He opened that also, and went out roimd his 
house, but could discover nothing, only he still heard a strange 
noise and hoUow sound. When he got back to bed, the noise 
was a thumping and drumming on the top of his house, 
which continued a good space, and then by degrees went off 
into the air. 

"After this, the noise of thumping and drumming was 
very frequent, usually five nights together, and then it would 
intermit three. It was on the outside of the house, which 
was most of it of board. It constantly came as they were 
going to sleep, whether early or late. After a month's dis- 
turbance without, it came into the room where the drum lay, 
four or five nights in seven, within half an hour after they 
were in bed, continuing almost two. The sign of it, just 
before it came, was a hurling in the air over the house ; and 
at its going off, the beating of a drum like that at the break- 
ing up of a guard. It continued in this room for the space 
of two months, which time Mr. Mompesson himself lay there 
.to observe it."* 

. During Mrs. Mompesson's confinement, and for three weeks 
afterwards, it intermitted; but "after this civil cessation," 
says Glanvil, " it returned in a ruder manner than before, and 
followed and vext the youngest children, beating their bed- 
steads with that violence, that all present expect^ when they 

-•-• -^ = —— — : 

* " Sadducismns Triumphatus ; or, Full and Plain Evidence concerning 
Witches and Apparitions, by Joseph Glanvil, late Chaplain-in-Ordinary to 
His Majesty, and Fellow of the Boyal Society," 3rd ed., London, 1689, pp. 


would fall to pieces. In laying liands on them, one should 
feel no blows, but might perceive them to shake exceedingly. 
For an hour together it would beat 'Round-Heads and 
Cuckolds/ the ' Tattoo/ and several other points of war, as 
well as any drummer. After this, they would hear a scratch- 
ing under the children's bed, as if by something that had iron 
talons. It would lift the children up in their beds, follow 
them jfrom one room to another, and for a while haunted none 
particularly but them." 

The next portion of the recital is still more marvellous; 
and Glanvil states that the occurrences took place in the pre- 
sence of a minister of the gospel, Mr. Cragg, and of many 
neighbours, who had come to the house on a visit. 

" The minister went to prayers with thlem, kneeling at the 
children's bedside, where it was then very troublesome and 
loud. , During prayer- time it withdrew into the cock-loft, but 
returned as soon as prayers were done ; and then, in sight of 
the company, the chairs walkt about the room of themselves, 
the children's shoes were hurled over their heads, and every 
loose thing moved about the chamber. At the same time a 
bed-staff was thrown at the minister, but so favourably, that 
a lock of wool could not have fallen more softly ; and it was 
observed, that it stopt just where it lighted, without rolling 
or moving from the place." (p. 324.) 

However whimsical and unlikely all this may appear, we 
shall find it paralleled in modem examples occurring both in 
Europe and America. 

The next extract introduces a new feature, well deserving 
our attention. It is the earliest indication I have foimd, of 
that responding of the sounds, with apparent intelligence, 
which has expanded in these United States to such vast 

"Mr. Mompesson perceiving that it so much persecuted 
the little children, he lodged them at a neighbour's house, 
taking his eldest daughter, who was about ten years of age, 
into his own chamber, where it had not been a month before. 
As soon as she was in bed, the disturbance began there again, • 
continuing three weeks, drumming and making other noises ; 
and it was observed that it would exactly answer in drumming 
anything that was beaten or called for, ^^ (p. 324.) 

Here is another extract, confinning similar observations 
touching the conduct of animals during like disturbances 

" It was noted that when the noise was loudest, and camQ j| 


with the most sudden and surprising yiolence, no dog about 
the house would move, though the knocking was oft so bois- 
terous and rude, that it hath been heard at a considerable 
distance in the fields, and awakened the neighbours in the 
village, none of which live very near this.'* (p. 324.) 

The disturbances continued throughaiU two years, some of 
them being recorded (p. 332) as having taken place in the 
month of April, 1663. Mr. Mompesson and his Mends 
ascribed them to the malice of the drummer, in league with 
the Evil One. And in this they were confirmed by the 
following incidents, occurring in the month of January, 1662. 
Those who have any experience in similar communications of 
our day know well now little confidence ought to be placed in 
such, when uncorroborated by other evidence, except as an 
indication of some occult intelligence. 

" During the time of the knocking, when many, were 
present, a gentleman of the company said, ^ Satan, if the 
drummer set thee to work, give three knocks, and no more ;' 
which it did very distinctly, and stopt. Then the gentleman 
knockt to see if it would answer him as it was wont ; but it 
did not. For farther trial, he bid it, for confirmation, if it 
were the drummer, to give five knocks and no more that 
night, which it did, and left the house quiet all the night 
after. This was done in the presence of Sir Thomas Cham- 
berlain, of Oxford, and divers others.'' (p. 326.), 

So far the narrative, as derived by our author from 
Mr. Mompesson and others ; but Mr. Glanvil himself visited 
the scene of the disturbance in January, 1662, and gives us 
the result of his personal observations, as follows : — 

" About this time I went to the house on purpose to in- 
quire the truth of those passages, of which there was so loud 
a report. It had ceased from its drumming and ruder noises 
before I came thither; but most of the more remarkable 
circumstances before related were confirmed to me there, by 
several of the neighbours together, who had been present at 
them. At this time it used to haunt the children, and that 
as soon as they were laid. They went to bed that night I 
was there, about eight of the clock, when a maid-servant, 
coming down from them, told us it was come. The neigh- 
bours that 'Were there, and two ministers who had seen and 
heard divers times, went away ; but Mr. Mompesson and I, 
and a gentleman that came with me, went up. I heard a 
strange scratching as we went up the stairs, and when we 
cUme into the room, I perceived it was just behind the bolster 


of the children's bed, and seemed to be against the tick. It 
was loud scratching, as one with long nails could make upon 
a bolster. There were two Kttle modest girls in the bed, 
between seyen and eleven years old, as I guest, I saw their 
hands out of the clothes, ^nd they could not contribute to the 
noise that was behind their heads. They had been used to 
it, and had still somebody or other in the chamber with them, 
and therefore seemed not to be much aflrighted. I, standing 
at the bed's head, thrust my hand behind the bolster, direct- 
ing it to the place whence the noise seemed to come. Where- 
upon the noise ceased there, and was heard in another part of 
the bed. But when I had taken out my hand it returned, 
and was heard in the same place as before. I had been 
told that it would imitate noises, and made trial by 
scratching several times upon the sheet, as 6, and 7, and 
10, which it followed and still stopped at my number. I 
searched imder and behind the bed, turned up the clothes 
to the bed-cords, graspt the bolster, sounded the wall 
behind, and made all the search that possibly I could, to 
find if there were any trick, contrivance, or common cause of 
it : the like did my Mend ; but we could discover nothing. 
So that I was then verily persuaded, and am so still, that the 
noise was made by some daemon or spirit. After it had 
scratched about half an hour or more, it went into the midst 
of the bed, under the children, and there seemed to pant, like 
a dog out of breath, very loudly. I put my hand upon the 
place, and felt the bed bearing up against it, as if something 
within had thrust it up. I grasped the feathers to feel if any- 
living thing were in it. I looked under, and everywhere 
about, to see if there were any dog or cat, or any such 
creature, in the room, and so we all did, but found nothing.' 
The motion it caused by this panting was so strong, that 
it shook the rooms and windows very sensibly. It continued 
more than half an hour, while my friend and I staid in the 
room ; and as long after, as we were told. 

" It will, I know, be said, by some, that my Mend and I 
were imder some affright, and so fancied noises and sights 
that were not. This is the eternal evasion. But if it be 
possible to know how a man is affected when in fear, and 
when imconcerned, I certainly know, for mine own part, that 
during the whole time of my being in the room, and in the 
house, I was imder no more aflfrightment, than I am while 
I write this relation. And if I know that I am now awake, 

156 MR. momfesson's letter. 

and that I see the objects that are before md, I know that 
I heard and saw the particulars that I have told." (pp. 328 
to 330.) _ . 

Mr. Glanvil concludes the relation, the repetitions and less 
interesting portions of which, for brevity's sake, I have 
omitted, as follows : — 

" Thus I have written the sum of Mr. Mompesson's dis- 
turbance, which I had partly from his own mouth related 
before divers, who had been witnesses of all, and confirmed 
his relation ; and partly from his own letters, from which the 
order and series of things is taken. The same particulars 
he writ also to Dr. Creed, then doctor of the chair in Oxford." 
(p. 334.) 

It remains to be stated that, some time after the drummer's 
first commitment, Mr. Mompesson had him again taken up for 
felony (under the statute oi 1 James, chap. 12), for the sup-f 
posed witchcraft about his house. The grand jury foimd a 
true bill ; but, to the honour of the petty jury, be it said, the man 
was acquitted, his connection with the disturbances not being 
proved. The reality of the disturbances was sworn to by 
various witnesses. To this fact Mr. Mompesson alludes in a 
letter written by him to a Mr. James Collins, dated Tedworth, 
August 8, 1674, and published entire in Glanvil's book. I 
quote from that letter : — 

" The evidence upon oath were myself, Mr. William Maton, 
one Mr. Walter Dowse — all yet living, and, I think, of as 
good repute a* any this country has in it^ — ^and one Mr. Joseph 
Cragg, then mimster of the place, but since dead. We aU 
deposed several things that we conceived impossible to be 
done by any natural agents, as the motion of chairs, stools, 
and bed-staves, nobody being near them, the beating of 
drums in the air over the house in clear nights, and nothing 
visible, the shaking of the, floor and strongest parts of the 
house in still and calm nights, with several other things of 
the like nature."* 

In another letter, addressed by Mr. Mompesson to Mr. 
Glanvil himself, under date November 8, 1672, he says, — 

"Meeting with Dr. Pierce accidentally at Sir Robert 
Button's, he acquainted me of something that passed between 
my Lord of E.— — and yourself about my troubles, &c. ; to 

* Mompesson's letter to Collins, given entire in the preface to the second 
part of Glanvil's " Sadducismns Triumphatus," 3rd ed., 1689. It does not 
appear in the 1st edition, not having been then written. 


which (having but little leisure) I do give you this account : 
That I have been very often of late asked the question, 
* Whether I have not confessed to his majesty, or any other, 
a cheat discovered about that affair/ To wmch I gave, and 
shall to my dying day give, the same answer : That I must 
beKe myself, and perjure myself also, to acknowledge a cheat 
in a thing where 1 am sure there neither was or could be any, 
as I, the minister of the place, and two other honest gentlemen 
deposed at the assizes upon my impleading the drummer. 
If the world will not believe it, it shall be indifferent to me, 
praying God to keep me from the same or the like afliiction."* 
Such is a compendium of the essential facts in this case, 
literally extracted from Glanvil's work, to which for a more 
detailed account the curious reader is referred. 

In connection with the above narrative, it is chiefly to be 
noted : — 

That the disturbances continued for two entire years, 
namely, from April, 1661, imtil April, 1663 ; and that Mr. 
Mompesson took up his quarters for the night, for two months 
at a time, in a particular chamber, expressly for the purpose 
of observing them. 

That the sounds produced were so loud as to awaken the 
neighbours in the adjoining village, at a considerable distance 
from Mr. Mompesson's house. 

That the motion in the children's bed, in Mr. Glanvil's 
presence, was so great as sensibly to shake the doors and 
windows of the house. 

That the facts, collected by Glanvil at the time they 
occurred, were published by him four years afterwards, to wit, 
in 1666 ; and that the more important of these facts were 
sworn to in a court of justice. 

That ten years after these occurrences took place, and 
when it was reported that Mr. Mompesson had admitted the 
discovery of a trick,- that gentleman explicitly denied that he 

* The letter is given entire in the preface to Glanvil' b work, 3rd edition. 

It is remarkable how tmscrupuloasly some men who ought to know 
better deny, without any foundation, the truth of some unwelcome fact. In 
the " Philosophy of Mystery," by Walter Cooper Dendy, Fellow and Honorary 
Secretary to the Medical Society of London, the author, speaking of the 
•* mystery of the Demon of Tedworth," says, " This also was the source of 
extreme wonder until the drummer was tried and convicted, and Mr. Mom- 
pesson confessed that the mystery was the effect of contrivance." — Chapter, 
nVustration of MysterUma SowndSf pp. 149, 150. 

158 glanyil's remarks. 

had ever discovered any natural cause for the phenomena, 
and in the most solemn manner indorsed his former declar- 
ations to Mr. Glauvil. 

When to these considerations are added the following re- 
marks of Mr. Glanvil regarding the character of Mr. Mom- 
pesson and the chances of imposture under the circumstances, 
the reader has before him all the materials for judging in this 

" Mr. Mompesson is a gentleman of whose truth in this ac- 
count I have not the least ground of suspicion, he being neither 
vain nor credulous, but a discreet, sagacious, and manly per- 
son. Now, the credit of matters of fact depends much upon 
the relators, who, if they cannot be deceivea themselves, nor 
supposed anyways interested to impose upon others, ought to 
be credited. For upon these circumstances all human faith is 
grounded, and matter of fact is not capable of any proof be- 
sides but that of immediate sensible evidence. ISow, this 
gentleman cannot be thought ignorant whether that he relates 
be true or no — ^the scene of all being his own house, himself 
the witness, and that not of a circumstance or two, but of an 
himdred, nor of once or twice only, but for the space of some 
years, during which he was a concerned and inquisitive ob- 
server. So that it cannot, with any show of reason, be sup- 
posed that any of his servants abiised him, since in all that 
time he must needs have detected the deceit. And what 
interest could any of his family have had (if it had been 
possible to have managed without discovery) to continue so 
long, so troublesome, and so injurious an imposture? Nor 
can it with any whit of more probability be imagined that 
his own melancholy deluded him, since (besides that he is no 
crazy nor imaginative person) that humour could not have been 
so lasting and pertinacious. Or, if it were so in him, can we 
think he affected his whole family, and those multitudes of 
neighbours and others who had so often been witnesses of 
those passages ? Such supposals are wild, and not like to 
tempt any but those whose wills are their reasons. So that, 
upon the whole, the principal relator, Mr. Mompesson himself, 
knew whether what he reports was true or not, whether those 
things acted in his house were contrived cheats or extraordi- 
nary realities. And, if so, what interest could he serve in 
carrying on or conniving at a juggling design and impos- 

" He suffered by it in his name, in his estate, in all his ' 
affairs^ and in the general peace of his family. The unbe- 


Kevers in the matter of spirits and ,witclies took him for an 
impostor. Many others judged the permission of such an 
extraordinary e^il to be the judgment of God upon him for 
some notorious wickedness or impiety. Thus his name was 
continually exposed to censure, and ms estate suflfered by the 
concourse of people from all parts to his house ; by the (uver- 
sion it gave him from his affairs ; by the discouragement of 
servants, by reason of which he could hardly get any to live 
with him. To which I add, the continual hurry that his 
family was in, the affiights, and the watchings and dis- 
turbance of his whole house (in which himself must needs be 
the most concerned). I say, if these things are considered, 
there will be little reason to think he would have any interest 
to put a cheat upon the world, in which he would most of all 
have injured and abused himself."* 

Leaving this case in the reader's hands, I pass to another, 
occurring in the eighteenth century. 


Disturbances in Mr. Wesley* s Parsonage at Epworth. 

1716 AND 1717. 

In the year 1716, the Rev. Samuel Wesley, father of the 
celebrated John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, was rector 
of Epworth, in the county of Lincoln, England. In his par- 
sonage-house, the same in which John was bom, there 
occurred, throughout the months of December, 1716, and of 
January, 1717, sundry disturbances, of which Mr. Samuel 
Wesley kept a detailed journal. The particulars are further 
preserved in twelve letters written on the subject, at the time, 
to and from various members of the family. In addition to 
this, Mr. John Wesley himself went down to Epworth in the 
year 1720, inquired carefully into the particmars, received 
statements in writing from each member of the family touch- 
ing what thev had seen and heard, and compiled from these a 
narrative which he published in the " Arminian Magazine." 

The original documents were preserved in the fiimily, came 
into the hands of Mrs. Earle, grand-daughter of Mr. Samuel 
Wesley, (the eldest brother of John,) were intrusted by her 
to a Mr. Babcock, and by him given to the well-known Dr. 
Joseph Priestley, by whom the whole were first published in 
• 1791.t 

* " Sadduoismns Triumphatiis " pp. 334 to 3dQ. 

t « Original Letters hj the Bev. Jobn Leakey wafli \fl&'ETOs^^'52«s^Hx»r 


They have been reprinted by Br. Adam Clarke, in his 
" Memoirs of the Wesley- Family."* They cover forty-six 
pages of that work; and, as they contain numerous repeti- 
tions, I content myself with transcribing a portion only, com- 
mencing with the narrative drawn up by Mr. John Wesley, 
to wych I have already referred. 


"On December 2, 1716, while Robert Brown, my father's 
servant, was sitting with one of the maids, a little before ten 
at night, in the dining-room, which opened into the garden, 
they both heard one Imocking at the door. « Robert rose and 
opened it, but could see nobody*. Quickly it knocked again, 
and groaned. * It is Mr. Turpine,' said Robert : * he has the 
stone, and uses to groan so.' He opened the door again twice 
or thrice, the knocking being twice or thrice repeated ; but, 
still seeing nothing, and being a little startled, they rose up 
and went to bed. When Robert came to the top of the garret 
stairs, he saw a handmill, which was at a little distance, whirled 
about very swiftly. When he related this he said, * Nought 
vexed me but that it was empty. I thought if it had but 
been ftdl of malt he might have ground his heart out for me.' 
When he was in bed, he heard as it were the gobbling of a 
turkey-cock close to the bedside, and soon after the sound of 
one stumbling over his shoes and boots ; but there was none 
there : he had left them below. The next day^ he and the 
maid related these things to the other maid, who laughed 
heartily, and said, * What a couple of fools are you ! I defy 
anything to fright me.' After churning in the evening, she 
put the butter in the tray, and had no sooner carried it into 
the dairy than she heard a knocking on the shelf where 
several puncheons of milk stood, first above the shelf, then 
below. She took the candle, and searched both above and 
below, but, being able to find nothing, threw down butter, 
tray, and all, and ran away for Hfe. The next evening, 
between five and six o'clock, my sister Molly, then about 
twenty years of age, sitting in the dining-room reading, heard 
as if it were the door that led into the hall open, and a person 
walking in that seemed to have on a silk night-gown, rustling 

tive of his Early History," with other Cnrioiis Papers, communicated by the 
late Rev. S. Babcock. To which is prefixed, An Adihress to the Methodists, 
by Joseph Priestley, LL.D., F.R.S., &c., London, 1791 : an octavo volume of 
IvO pages. This pamphlet is scarce. 
* ** Memoirs of the* Wesley Family," collected principally from original 
doonmenta. By Adam Clarke, LL.I)., F A.&., ^nd 0^.^11011^011^ 1^43. 


and trailing along. It seemed to walk round her, then to the 
door, then round again; but she could see nothing. She thought, 
' It signifies nothing to run away ; for, whatever it is, it can 
run faster than me.' So she rose, put her book under her arm, 
and walked slowly away. After supper, she was sitting with 
my sister Sukey (about a year older than her) in one of the 
chambers, and telling her what had happened. She made 
quite light of it, telling her, 'I wonder you are so easily 
frighted : I would fain see what would fright me.' . Presently 
a knocking began under the table. She took the candle and 
looked, but could find nothing. Then the iron casement 
began to clatter, and the lid of a warming-pan. Next the 
latch of the door moved up and down without ceasing. She 
started up, leaped into the bed without undressing, pulled the 
bed-clothes over her head, and never ventured to look up 
untn next morning. 

" A night or two after, my sister Hetty (a year younger 
than my sister Molly) was waiting as usual, between nine and 
ten, to take away my father's candle, when she heard one 
coming down the garret stairs, walking slowly by her, 
then going down the best qtairs, then up the back stairs, and 
up the garret stairs ; and at every step it seemed the house 
shook from top to bottom. Just then my father knocked. 
She went in, took his candle, and got to bed as fast as pos- 
sible. In the morning she told this to my eldest sister, who 
told her, * You know I believe none of these things : pray let 
me take away the candle to-night, and I will find out the 
trick.' She accordingly took my sister Hetty's place, and 
had no sooner taken away the candle than she heard a noise 
below. She hastened down-stairs to the hall, where the noise 
was, but it was then in the kitchen. She ran into the kit- 
chen, where it was drumming on the inside of the screen. 
When she went round, it was drumming on the outside, and 
80 always on the side opposite to her. Then she heard a 
knocking at the back kitchen door. She ran to it, unlocked 
it softly, and, when the knocking was repeated, suddenly 
opened it ; but nothing was to be seen. As soon as she had 
shut it, the knocking began again. She opened it again, but 
could see nothing. When she went to shut the door, it was 
violently thrust against her ; but she set her knee and her 
shoulder to the door, forced it to, and turned the key. Then 
.the knocking began again ; but she let it go on, and went up 
to bed. However, from that time she was thoroughly con- 
vinced that there was no imposture in the affiaiT. 

" The next monung, my sister teUing ixi'y "n\.o\5aet "sriW^^^^K^a^. 


happened, slie said, ' If I hear anything myself I ^all kno# 
how to judge/ Soon after she begged her to come into the 
nursery. She did, and heard, in the comer of the room, as 
it were the yiolent rocking of a cradle ; but no cradle had 
been there for some years. She was convinced it was prseter- 
natural, and earnestly prayed it might not disturb her in her 
own chamber at the hours of retirement ; and it never did. 
She now thought it was proper to tell my &ther. But he 
was extremely angry, and said, 'Sukey, 1 am ashamed of 
you. These boys and girls firighten one another ; but you 
are a woman of sense, and should know better. Let me h^ar 
of it no more.* 

^^ At six in the evening he had &mily prayers as usual. 
When he began the prayer for the king, a knocking began all 
round the room, and a mundering knock attended the Amen, 
The same was heard from this time every morning and even- 
ing while the prayer for the king was repeated. As both my 
father and mother are now at rest, and incapable of being 
pained thereby, I think it my duty to furnish the serious 
reader with a key to this circumstance. 

" The year before King William died, my father observed 
my mother did not say amen to the prayer for Ae king. She 
said she could not, for she did not believe the Prince of Orange 
was king. He vowed he would never cohabit with her until 
she did. He then took his horse and rode away; nor did she 
hear anything of him for a twelvemonth. He then came 
back, and lived with her as before. But I fear his vow was 
not forgotten before God. 

"Bem.g informed that Mr. Hoole, the vicar of Haxey, 
(an eminently pious and sensible man,) could give me some 
mrther information, I walked over to him. He said, * Robert 
Brown came over to me, and told me your father desired my 
company. When I came, he gave me an account of all that 
had happened, particidarly the knocking during family 
prayer. But that evening (to my great satisfaction) we had 
no knocking at all. But between nine and ten a servant 
came in, ana said, " Old Jeffirey is coining, (that was the name 
of one that died in the house,) for I hear the signal.'* This 
they informed me was heard every night about a quarter 
before ten. It was toward the top of the house, on the out- 
side, at the north-east comer, resembling the loud creaking of 
a saw, or rather that of a windmill when the body of it is 
turned about in order to shift the sails to the wind. We then 
heard a knocking over our heads ; and Mr. Wesley, catching 


up a candle, said, " Come, sir, now you shall hear for yourself." 
We went up-stairs; he with much hope, and I (to say the 
truth) with much fear. When we came into the nursery, it 
was knocking in the next room ; when we went there, it was 
knocking in the nursery. And there it continued to knock, 
though we came in, particularly at the head of the bed 
(which was of wood) in which Miss Hetty and two of her 
younger sisters lay. Mr. Wesley observing that they were 
much affected, — ^though asleep, sweating, and trembling ex- 
ceedingly, — was very angry, and, pulling out a pistol, was 
foing to fire at the place from whence the sound came. But 
snatched him by the arm, and said, "Sir, you are con- 
vinced this is something praBtematural. If so, you cannot 
hurt it ; but you give it power to hurt you." He then went 
close to the place, and said, sternly, " Thou deaf and dumb 
devil ! why dost thou fright these children, that cannot 
answer for themselves P Come to me, in my study, that am a 
man !" Instantly it knocked his knock (the particidar knock 
which he always used at the gate), as if it would shiver the 
board to pieces ; and we heard nothing more that night.* 

" Till this time my father had never heard the least dis- 
turbance in his study. But the next evening, as he attempted 
to go into his study, (of which none had the key but himself,) 
when he opened the door, it was thrust back with, such 
violence as had like to have thrown him down. However, he 
thrust the door open, and went in. Presently there was a 
knocking, first on one side, then on the other, and, after a 
time, in the next room, wherein my sister Nancy was. He 
went into that room, and, the noise continuinff, adjured it to 
speak, but in vaia. He then said, * These spirits love dark- 
ness : put out the candle, and perhaps it will speak.' She 
did so, and he repeated his adjuration ; but still there was 
only knocking, and no articidate sound. Upon this he said, 
' Nancy, two Christians are an overmatch for the devil. Go 
all of you down-stairs : it may be when I am alone he will 
have courage to speak.' When she was gone, a thought came 
in his head, and he said, * If thou art the spirit of my son 
Samuel, I pray knock three knocks, and no more.' Imme- 
diately all was silence, and there was no more knocking at all 
that night. I asked my sister Nancy (then fifbeen years old) 
whether she was not afraid when my father used that adjura- 
tion. She answered she was sadly e&aid it would speak when 
she put out the candle ; but she was not at all afraid in the 
day-time, when it walked after her, only ^\i<& ^JcLWSL^DiXi^sR^^s^ 



6he was about her work he miglit have done it for her, and 
Bayed her the trouble. 

" By this time all my sisters were so accustomed to these 
noises that they gave them little disturbance. A gentle tap- 
ping at their bed-head usually began between nine and ten 
at night. They then commonly said to each other, * Jeffrey 
is coming : it is time to go to sleep.' And if they heard a 
noise in the day, and said to my youngest sister, *Hark, 
Kezzy, Jeffrey is knocking above,' she would run up-stairs 
and pursue it from room to room, saying she desired no better 

" A few nights after, my father and mother had just gone 
to bed, and the candle was not taken away, when they heard 
three blows, and a second and a third three, as it were with a 
large oaken staff, struck upon a chest which stood by the bed- 
side. My father immediately arose, put on his night-gown, 
and, hearing great noises below, took the candle and went 
down ; my mother walked by his side. As they went down 
the broad stairs, they heard as if a vessel full of sUver was 
poured upon my mother's breast and ran jingling down to 
her feet. Quickly after, there was a sound as if a large iron 
bell was thrown among many bottles under the stairs ; but 
nothing was hurt. Soon after, our large mastiff dog came, 
and ran to shelter himself between them. While the dis- 
turbances continued^he used to bark and leap, and snap on one 
side and the other, and that frequently before any person in 
the room heard any noise at all. But after two or three days 
he used to tremble, and creep away before the noise began. 
And by this the family knew it was at hand ; nor did the 
observation ever fail. 

" A little before my father and mother came into the hall, 
it seemed as if a very large coal was violently thrown upon 
the floor and dashed all in pieces ; but nothing was seen. My 
father then cried out, * Sukey, do you not hear ? all the 
pewter is thrown about the kitchen.' But when they looked, 
all the pewter stood in its place. There then was a loud 
knocking at the back door. My father opened it, but saw 
nothing. It was then at the fore door. He opened that, 
but it was still lost labour. After opening first the one, then 
the other, several times, he turned and went up to bed. But 
the noises were so violent over the house that he could not 
sleep till four in the morning. 

" Several gentlemen and clergymen now earnestly advised 
mjr father to quit the house. But he constantly answered,. 


* No : let the devil flee from me ; I wiUnever flee from the devil/ 
But he wrote to my eldest brother, at London, to come down. 
He was preparing so to do, when another letter came inform- 
ing him the disturbances were over, after they had continued 
ithe latter part of the time day and night,) trom. the 2nd of 
)ecember to the end of January."* 

The journal of Mr. Wesley, sen., (p. 247,) ftdly corro- 
borates his son's narrative, adding some further particu- 
lars. He notices that, on the 23rd of December, in the 
nursery, when his daughter Emily knocked, it answered her. 
On another occasion, he says, "I went down-stairs, and 
knocked with my stick against the joists of the kitchen. It 
answered me as often and as loud as I knocked ; but then I 
knocked as I usually do at my door — 1, — 2, 3, 4, 6, 6, — 7 ;. 
but this puzzled it, and it did not answer, or not in the same 
method, though the children heard it do the same exactly 
twice or thrice after.'' This corresponds with what Mr. Hoole 
said about " its knocking Mr. Wesley's knock." 

On the 25th of December, he says, " The noises were so 
violent it was vain to think of sleep while they continued." 
So, again, on December 27th, he adds, " They were so 
boisterous that I did not care to leave my family" — ^as he 
wished to do, to pay a visit to a friend, Mr. Downs. 

He says, also, " 1 have been thrice pushed by an invisible 
power, once against the comer of my desk in the study, a 
second time against the door of the matted chamber, a tnird 
time against the right side of the frame of my study-door, as 
I was going in." 

As to the dog, under date December 25th, his record is, 
" Our mastiff" came whining to us, as he did always after the 
first night of its coming ; for then he barked violently at it, 
but was silent afterwards, and seemed more afraid than any 
of the children." 

The letters corroborating the various details are too long 
and numerous to be here transcribed. I extract, as a 
specimen, from one written by Emily Wesley (afterwards 
Mrs. Harper,) to her brother Samuel. She says : — 

" I thank you for your last, and shall give you what satis- 
faction is in my power concerning what has happened in our 
family. I am so far from being superstitious, that I was too 
much inclined to infidelity: so that I heartily rejoice at 
having such an opportunity of convincing myself, past doubt 
or scruple, of the existence of some beings besides those we 

* "Memoirs of the Wesley Family," vol. i, pip. ^^^ \» ^^. 

166 EMILY Wesley's account 

see. A whole month was sufficient to convince anybody of 
the reahty of the thing, and to try all ways of discovering any 
trick, had it been possible for any such to have been used. I 
shall only tell you what I myself heard, and leave the rest to 
- others. 

" My sisters in the paper-chamber had heard noises, and 
told me of them ; but I did not much believe tiU one night, 
about a week after the first groans were heard, which was the 
beginninff. Just after the clock had struck ten, I went 
down-stairs to lock the doors, which I always do. Scarce 
had I got up the best stairs, when I heard a noise like a 
person throwing down a vast coal in the middle of. the fore 
kitchen, and all the splinters seemed to fly about from it. I 
was not much frighted, but went to my sister Sukey, and we 
together went all over the low rooms ; but there was nothing 
out of order. 

" Our dog was fast asleep, and our only cat in the other 
end of the house. No sooner was I got up-stairs and un- 
dressing for bed, but I heard a noise among many bottles 
that stand under the best stairs, just like the throwing of a 
great stone among them which had broken them all to pieces. 
This made me hasten to bed. But my sister Hetty, who sits 
always to wait on my father going to bed, was still sitting on the 
lowest step on the garret stairs, the door being shut at her 
back, when, soon after, there came down the stairs behind her 
something like a man in a loose night-gown trailing after 
him, which made her fly rather than run to me in the 

" AU this time we never told my father of it ; but soon we 
did. He smiled, and gave no answer, but was more carefol 
than usual from that time to see us in bed, imagining it to 
be some of us young women that sat up late and made a 
noise. His incredulity, and especially his imputing it to us or 
our lovers, made me, I own, desirous of its continuance till 
he was convinced. As for my mother, she firmly beKeved it 
to be rats, and sent for a horn to blow them away. I laughed 
to think how wisely they were employed who were strivine 
half a day to fright away Jeffi^y (for that name I gave it; 
with a horn. 

" But, whatever it was, I perceived it could be made 

angry ; for from that time it was so outrageous, there was no 

quiet for us after ten at night. I heard frequently, between 

ten and eleven, something like the quick winding-up of a 

jack at the comer of the room by my bed's head> just like 


she rmming of the wheels and the creakmg of the iron- work. 
riiis was the coininon signal of its coming. Then it would 
mock on the floor three times, then at my sister's bed's-head, 
In 'the same room, almost always three together, and then 
jtay. The sound was hollow and loud, so as none of us could 
3ver imitate. 

**It would answer to my mother if she stamped on the 
ioor and bid it. It would knock when I was putting the 
jhildren to bed, just under me, where I sat. One time little 
Kezzy, pretending to scare Polly, as I was undressing them, 
stamped with her foot on the floor; and immediately it 
mswered with three knocks, just in the same place. It was 
Qiore loud and fierce if any one said it was rats, or anything 

" I could tell you abundance more of it, but the rest will 
write, and therefore it would be needless. I was not much 
Bcighted at first, and very little at last ; but it was never near 
me, except two or three times, and never followed me, as it 
did my sister Hetty. I have been with her when it haa 
knocked imder her ; and when she has removed it has fol- 
lowed, and still kept just under her feet, which was enough 
to terrify a stouter person." (pp. 270 to 272.) 

Under date January 19th, 1717, Mr. Samuel Wesley, 
jun., wrote to his mother, propounding certain questions, to 
which she most satisfactorily replied,* adding, " But, withal, I 
desire that my answers may satisfy none but yourself ; for I 
would not have the matter imparted to any." 

From a memorandimi of Mr. John Wesley, detailing the 
" general circimistances, of which most, if not all the family 
were frequent witnesses," I extract as follows : — 

*' Before it came into any room, the latches were frequently 
lifted up, the windows clattered, and whatever iron or brass 
was about the chamber rung and jarred exceedingly. 

** When it was in any room, let them make what noise they 
would, as they sometimes did on purpose, its dead, hollow note 
would be clearly heard above them all. 

" The sound very often seemed in the air in the middle of 
a room ; nor could they ever make any such themselves, by 
any contrivance. 

" It never came by day till my mother ordered the horn te 
be blown. After that time scarce any one could go from one 
room into another but the lateh of the room they went to was 
lifted up before they touched it. 

"It never came into my father^s study tillTafe \»XksfiL\ft*"^ 


sharply, called it deaf and dumb devil, and bid it cease to 
disturb the innocent cbildren, and come to him in bis study if 
it bad anything to say to him. 

" From the time of my mother's desirinff it not to disturb 
her from five to six, it was never heard in her chamber from 
five till she came down-stairs, nor at any other time when she 
was employed in devotion." (pp. 284, 285.) 

It remains to be stated that one member, at least, of the 
family, Emily Wesley, a portion of whose letter on the 
subject has already been given, conceived herself to have been 
followed by the Epworth spirit through life. Dr. Clarke 
states that he possesses an original letter from that lady to 
her brother Jolm, dated February 16th, 1750 — ^that is, thirty- 
four years after the preceding events happened — from which 
letter he publishes the following extract : — 

** I want sadly to see you, and talk some hours with you, 
as in times past. One doctrine of yours and of many more — 
namely, no happiness can be found in any or all things in 
the world: that, as I have sixteen years of my own ex- 
perience which lie flatly against it, I want to talk with you 
about it. Another thing is, that wonderful thing called by 
us Jeflrey. You won't laugh at me for being superstitious 
if I tell you how certainly that something calls on me against 
any extraordinary new afliiction ; but so little is known of 
the invisible world thai I, at least, am not able to judge 
whether it be a friendly or an evil spirit."* 

As to the causes of these disturbances. Dr. Clarke has the 
following : — " For a considerable time all the family believed 
it to be a trick ; but at last they were all satisfied it was 
something supernatural." . . . "Mr. John Wesley 
believed that it was a messenger of Satan sent to buflfet his 
father for his rash promise of leaving his family, and very 
improper conduct to his wife, in consequence of her scruple 
to pray for the Prince of Orange as King of England." . . . 
" With others the house was considered as haunted." . . . 
"Dr. Priestley thinks the whole trick an imposture. It 
must be, on his system of materialism ; but this does not solve 
the difficulty ; it only cuts the knot." . • . "Mrs. 
Wesley's opmion was different from all the rest, and was 
probably the most correct : she supposed that * these noises 
and disturbances portended the death of her brother, then 
abroad in the East India Company's service.' This gentle- 

* « Memoirs of the Wesley Family,** vol i, p. 286. 

Priestley's and southey's opinions. 169 

man, who had acquired a large fortune, suddenly disappeared, 
and was never heard of more — at least, as far as I can find 
from the remaining branches of the family, or from any of 
the family documents." (pp. 287 to*289.) 

These disturbances, though not so persistent as those of 
Tedworth, extended through two entire months — a period 
sufficient, it would seem, for a family so strong-minded and 
stout-hearted as the Wesleys to detect any imposture. And, 
unless we are to suspect Eimly Wesley of a superstition which 
her letters are very far from indicating, phenomena of a some- 
what similar character accompanied her through a long life- 

Dr. Priestley, with all his sceptical leanings, speaking of the 
Epworth narrative, is fain to admit that "it is perhaps the 
best-authenticated and the best-told story of the kind that is 
anywhere extant.''* He enters, however, into an argument 
to prove that there could be nothing supernatural in it; for 
wmch his chief reason is, that he could see no good to be 
answered by it. His conclusion is, ** What appears most 
probable at this distance of time, in the present case, is, that 
it was a trick of the servants, assisted by some of the neigh- 
bours : and that nothing was meant by it besides puzzlmg 
the family and amusing themselves;" a supposition which 
Dr. Clarke rejects. He says, expressly, " The accounts given 
of these disturbances are so circumstantial and authentic as 
to entitie them to the most implicit credit. The eye and ear- 
witnesses were persons of strong understandings and well-culti- 
yated minds, untinctured by superstition, and in some instances 
rather sceptically inclined." And he adds, ^* Nothing appa- 
rently prsetematural can Ke further beyond the verge of im- 
postOTe than these accounts, and the circumstantial state- 
ments contained in them force conviction of their truth on 
the minds of the incredulous."t 

Southey, in his " Life of Wesley," gives the account of 
these disturbances ; and this is his comment upon it : — 

" An author who, in this age, relates such a story and treats 
it as not utterly incredible and absurd, must expect to be 
ridiculed ; but the testimony upon which it rests is far too 
strong to be set aside because of the strangeness of the rela- 
tion." . . .* " Such things may be praetematural, and yet 

• Dr. Priestley's Pamphlet already cited, Preface, p. xi. 
f " Memoirs of the Wesley Family,'* yoI. i. pp. ^4&,^A&. 

170 Coleridge's opinion. 

not miraculous ; they may not be in the ordinary course of 
nature, and yet imply no alteration of its laws. And with 
regard to the good end which they may be supposed to 
answer, it would be end sufficient if sometimes one of those 
unhappy persons who, looking through the dim glass of infi- 
deHty, see nothing beyond this life and the narrow sphere of 
mortal existence, shoiud, from the well-established truth of 
one such story (trifling and objectless as it might otherwise 
appear), be led to a conclusion that there are more things in 
heaven and earth than are dreamed of in his philosophy.*' 

Coleridge's opinion was very different. In his copy of 
Southey's work, which he left to Southey, he wrote, against 
the story of the Wesley disturbances, the following note : — 
" AU th^se stories, and I could produce fifty, at least,, equally 
well authenticated, and, as far as the veracity of the narrators 
and the single fact of their having seen and heard such and 
such sights or sounds, above all rational scepticism, are as 
much like one another as the symptoms of the same disease in 
different patients. And this, indeed, I take to be the true and 
only solution — ^a contagious nervous disease, the acme or 
intensest form of which is catalepsy. — S. T. C."* 

It is an odd reason to allege against the credibility of such 
narratives that they are very numerous, and that in their 
general character they all agree. Nor is the short-cut by 
which the poet reaches an explanation of the phenomena less 
remarkable. Wesley and his family, he admits, did see and 
hear what they allege they did; but they were all cataleptics. 
What ! the mastiff also ? 

It is not my purpose, however, here to comment on these 
conflicting opinions, but only to submit them. They all come 
&om men of high character and standing. 

I pass by various records of disturbances similar to the ^ 
above, described as occurring in England and elsewhere 1^ 
throughout the eighteenth century, because in the details y- 
given there is little beyond what is to be found in the fore- ^ 
going, and because, as none of them are vouched for by names 
of such weight as those which attest the preceding examples, 
they will surely not be received if the others be rejected. 
Some of these are noticed in the journals pf the day: for 

• " The Asylum Jonmal of Mental Science " (published by an Associa* 
tion of Medical OfBicers of Asylums and Hospitals for the Insane) for April, 
1858, London, p. 395. 


example, one recently disinterred from the columns of the 
"New York Packet," and which appeared in its issue of 
March 10, 1789. It is in the shape of a communication to the 
editor, dated FishkiU, March 3, 1789. The correspondent 
says : — 

" Were I to relate the many extraordinary, though not 
less true, accounts I have heard concerning that unfortunate 
girl at New Havensack, your belief might perhaps be stag- 
gered and your patience tired. I shall therefore only inform 
you of what I have been eye-witness to. Last afternoon my 
wife and myself went to Dr. Thorn's ; and, after sitting for 
some time, we heard a knocking im.der the feet of a young 
wonian that lives in the family. I asked the doctor what 
occasioned the noise. He could not tell, but replied that he, 
together with several others, had examined the house, but 
were imable to discover the cause. I then took a candle and 
went with the girl into the cellar. There the knocking also 
continued : but, as we were ascending the stairs to return, I 
heard a prodigious rapping on each side, which alarmed me 
very much. 1 stood stiU some time, looking around with 
amazement, when I beheld some lumber wmch lay at the 

I head of the stairs shake considerably. 

I " About eight or ten days after, we visited the girl again. 

c The knocking still continued, but was much louder. Our 

e curiosity induced us to pay the third visit, when the pheno- 

i mena were still more alarming. I then saw the chairs move ; 

a. a large dining-table was thrown against me; and a small 
stand, on which stood a candle, was tossed up and thrown in 

le my wife's lap ; after which we left the house, much surprised 

u at what we had seen." 

Others were published in pamphlets at the time ; as, the 
disturbances in Mrs. Gelding's dwelling and elsewhere at 

^ Stockwell, occurring on the 6th and 7th of January, 1772, 

, chiefly marked by the moving about and destruction of fiir- 

1^ niture in various houses, but always iu the presence of Mrs. 

J. Golding and her maid. The pamphlet is reprinted in a 

J modem publication.* 

i • By Mrs. Crowe, in her " Night Side of Nature," pp. 412—22. The 
L pamphlet is entitled, " An authentic, candid, and circmnstantial Narrative of 
f the astonishing Transactions at Stockwell, in the connty of Surrey, on 

Monday and Tuesday, the 6th and 7th January, 1772 ; containing a series of 
' the most surprising and unaccountable events that ever happened, which 
|. continued, firom first to last, upwards of twenty hours, and at different places. 
1 Published with the consent and approbation of the femily and other parties 

concerned, to authenticate which the original copy is signed by thein." 



This case, however, with several others, including that of 
the "electric girl" reported by Arago, seems to belong to a 
different class from those I am now relating ; since in the 
latter the occult agency appears to have attached itself to 
persons, and to have exhibited no intelligence. 

Two other exanmles, of somewhat later date, and in which 
the annoyances suffered seemed partly of a local, partly of a 

Jersonal churacter, will be found in that magazine of which 
ohn Wesley was for many years the editor. They are pro- 
bably from his pen.* 

I pass on to an example occurring at the commencement of 
the present century on the continent of Europe. 


Disturbances in Upper Silesia. 


In the month of November, 1806, Councillor Hahn, attached 
to the court of the then reigning Prince of Hohenlohe Neuen- 
stein-Ingelfingen, received orders from that prince to proceed 
to one of his castles in Upper Silesia, called Slawensik, there 
to await his orders. Hahn was accompanied by a certain 
Charles Kern, comet in a hussar regiment, who had been 
taken prisoner by the French in a recent campaign against 
the Prussians, ana had just returned on parole. 

Both Hahn and Kern were in good health, and were men 
free from all taint of superstition. Hahn had been a student 
of philosophy under Fichte, was an admirer of Kant's doc- 
trines, and at that time a confirmed materialist. 

Having been intimate friends in youth, they occupied at 
Slawensik the same chamber. It was a comer room on the 
first floor, the windows looking out on the north and east. 
On the right, as one entered this room, was a glass door, 
opening through a wainscot paliition into another room, in 
which household utensils were kept. This door was always 
kept locked. Neither in this latter room nor in that occupied 
by the two friends was there any opening communicating 
from without, except the windows. No one at that time 

* For the first, occurring to two sisters named Dixon, see the " Arminian 

Magazine" for the year 1786, pp. 660 — 62. The disturbances commenced in 

1779, and are said to have continued upwards of six years. The second is 

^ven in the same magazine for 1787 ; commencing about a week before 

Chnstmas in the jear 1780. 



resided in the castle besides Halm and Kern, except Hahn's 
servant and two of the prince's coachmen. 

It was mider these circmnstances and in this locality that 
the foUowing disturbances occurred. Thev were written out 
by Hahn in November, 1808 ; and in 18^8 the manuscript 
was communicated by the writer to Dr. Kemer, the author 
of the ** Seeress of Prevorst," and by him first published as 
confirmatory of somewhat sinular phenomena witnessed by 
himself in the case of the seeress. I translate the chief part 
of Hahn's narrative, omitting some portions in which he- 
relates what others had reported to him ; premising that it is 
written in the third person. 

" On the third evening after their arrival in the castle, the 
two friends were sitting reading at a table in the middle of 
the room. About nine o'clock their occupation was inter- 
rupted by the frequent falling of small bits of lime over 
the room. They examined the ceiling, but could perceive 
no signs of their having fallen thence. As they were con- 
versing of this, still larger pieces of lime fell around them. 
This lune was cold to the touch, as if detached from an out- 
side wall. 

" They finally set it down to the account of the old walls 
of the castle, and went to bed and to sleep. The next morn- 
ing they were astonished at the quantity of lime that covered 
the floor, the more so as they could not perceive on walls or 
ceiling the slightest appearance of injury. By evening, 
however, the incident was forgotten, until not only the same 
phenomenon recurred, but bits of lime were thrown about 
the room, several of which struck Hahn. At the same time 
loud knockings, like the reports of distant artiUeir, were 
heard, sometimes as if on the floor, sometimes as if on the 
ceiling. Again the friends went to bed ; but the loudness of 
the knocks prevented their sleeping. Kern accused Hahn of 
causing the Wkings by strik^g on the boards that formed 
the under portion of his bedstead, and was not convinced of 
the contrary till he had taken the light and examined for 
himself. Tnen Hahn conceived a similar suspicion of Kern. 
The dispute was settled by both rising and standing close 
together, during which time the knockings continued as 
before. Next evening, besides the throwing of lime and the 
knockings, they heard another sound, resembling the distant 
beating of a drum. 

" Thereupon they requested of a lady who had charge of 
the castle, Madame Knittel, the keys of the tootca ^\ys^^ ^sA 


below them ; which she immediately sent them by her son. 
Hahn remained in the chamber below, while Kern and young 
Knittel went to examine the apartments in question. Above 
they found an empty room, below a kitchen. They knocked; 
but the sounds were entirely different from those that they 
had heard, and which Hahn at that very time continued to 
hear, in the room below. When they returned from their 
search, Hahn said, jestingly, * The place is haunted.' They 
again went to bed, leaving the candles burning ; but things 
b^ame stiU more serious! for they distinctly W a soJd 
as if some one with loose slippers on were walking across th6 
room ; and this was accompanied also with a noise as of a 
walking-stick on which some one w;as leaning, striking the 
floor step by step ; the person seeming, as far as one could 
judge by the sound, to be walking up and down the room. 
Hahn jested at this, Kern laughed, and both went to sleep, 
still not seriously disposed to ascribe these strange phenomena 
to any supernatural source. 

" Is ext evening, however, it seemed impossible to ascribe 
the occurrences to any natural cause. The agency, whatever 
it was, began to throw various articles about the room; 
knives, forks, brushes, caps, slippers, padlocks, a fiinnel, 
snuffers, soap, in short, whatever was loose about the apart- 
ment. Even candlesticks flew about, first from one comer, 
then from another. If the things had been left lying as 
they fell, the whole room would have been strewed in utter 
.confusion. At the same time, there feU, at intervals, more 
lime; but the knockings were discontinued. Then the 
friends called up the two coachmen and Hahn's servant, 
besides young Knittel, the watchman of the castle, and 
others ; aU of whom were witnesses of these disturbances." 

This continued for several nights; but all was usually 
quiet by morning — sometimes by one o'clock at night, Hahn 
continues : — 

"From the table, under their very eyes, snuffers and 
knives would occasionally rise, remain some time in the air, 
and then fall to the floor. In this way a large pair of scissors 
belonging to Hahn fell between him and one of the coach- 
men, and remained sticking in the floor. 

"For a few nights it intermitted, then recommenced as 
before. After it had continued about three weeks (during 
all which time Hahn persisted in remaining in the same 
apartment), tired out, at length, with the noises which con- 
tmualljr broke their rest, the two friends resolved to have 


their beds removed into the comer room above, so as to 
obtain, if possible, a quiet night's sleep. But tiie change 
was unavailing. The same loud knockmgs followed them ; 
and they even remarked that articles were flung about the 
room which they were quite certain they had left in the 
chiunber below. *Let them fling as they will,' exclaimed 
Hahn: *I must have sleep!' Kern, half undressed, paced 
the room in deep thought. Suddenly he stopped oerore a 
mirror, into which he chanced to look. After gazing upon 
it for some ten minutes, he began to tremble, turned deadly 
pale, and moved away. Hahn, thinking that he had been 
suddmly taken ill from the cold, hastened to him and threw 
a cloak over his shoulders. Then Kern, naturally a fearless 
man, took courage, and related to his friend, though still 
with quivering lips, that he had seen in the mirror the 
appearance of a female figure, in white, looking at him, and 
apparently before him, for he could see the reflection of him- 
self behind it. It was some time before he could persuade 
himself that he really saw this figure ; and for that reaspn 
he remained so long before the glass. Willinffly would he 
have believed that it was a mere trick of his unagination ; 
but as the figure looked at him fiill in the face, and he could 
perceive its eyes move, a shudder passed over him, and he 
turned away. Hahn instantly went to the mirror, and called 
upon the unage to show itself to him ; but, though he 
remained a quarter of an hour before it, and often repeated 
his iavocation, he saw nothing. Kern told him that the 
figure exhibited old but not disagreeable features, very pale 
but tranquil-looking; and that its head was covered with 

white drapery, so that the face only appeared 

"By this time a month had passed; the story of these 
disturbances had spread over the neighbourhood, and had 
been received by many with incredulity ; among the rest, by 
two Bavarian oflScers of dragoons, named Comet and 
Mag;erle. The latter proffered to remain alone in the room ; 
so the others left him there about twilight. But they had 
been but a short time in the opposite room, when they heard 
Magerle swearing loudly, and also sounds as of sabre-blows 
on tables and chairs. So, for the sake of the furniture at 
least, they judged it prudent to look in upon Magerle. 
When they asked him what was the matter, he replied, in a 
fury, * As soon as you left, the cursed thing began peltir^ 
me with lime and other things. I looked everywhere, b 


could see nobody ; so I got in a rage, and cut with my sabre 
right and left/ ' . . . . 

This was enough for the dragoon officers. Hahn and 
Kern, meanwhile, had become so much accustomed to these 
marvels that they joked and amused themselves with them. 
At last — 

" Hahn resolved that he would investigate them seriously. 
He accordingly, one evening, sat down at his writing-table, 
with two lighted candles before him ; being so placed that 
he could observe the whole room, and especially all the win- 
dows and doors. He was left, for a time, entirely alone in 
the castle, the coachmen being in the stables, and Kern 
having gone out. Yet the very same occurrences took place 
m before ; nay, the snuffers, under his very eyes, were raised 
and whirled about. He kept the strictest watch on the doors 
and windows ; but nothing could be discovered. 

"Several other persons witnessed these phenomena, at 
various times; a bookseller named Dorfel, and the Head 
Ranger, Radezensky. This last remained with them all night. 
But no rest had ne. He was kept awake with constant 
peltings. .... 

" Inspector Knetch, from Koschentin, resolved to spend a 
night with Hahn and Kern. There was no end of the pelt- 
ings they had during the evening ; but finaUy th^y retired to 
rest, leaving the candles burning. Then all three saw two 
table-napkins rise to the ceiling in the middle of the room, 
there spread themselves out, and finally drop, fluttering, to 
the floor. A porcelain pipe-bowl, belonging to Kern, flew 
around and broke to pieces. Knives and forks flew about ; a 
knife fell on Hahn's head, striking him, however, with the 
handle only. Thereupon it was resolved, as these disturb- 
ances had now continued throughout two months, to move 
out of the room. Kern and Hahn's servant carried a bed 
into the opposite chamber. No sooner had they gone, than 
a chalybeate water-bottle that was standing in the room, 
moved close to the feet of the two who remained behind. A 
brass candlestick also, that appeared to come out of a comer 
of the room, fell to the ground, before them. In the room to 
which they removed, they spent a tolerably quiet night, 
though they could still hear noises in the room they had left. 
This was the last disturbance." 

Hahn winds up his narration as follows :— 

" The story remained a mystery. All reflection on these 


strange occurrences, all investigation, thouffh most carefiilly 
made, to discover natural causes for them, left the observers 
in darkness. No one could suffffest any possible means of 
effecting them, even had there ^n, which there wa« not, in 
the village or the neighbourhood, any one capable of sleight- 
of-hand. And what motive could there be P The old castle 
was worth nothing, except to its owner. In short, one can per- 
ceive no imaginable purpose in the whole affair. It resulted 
but in the disturbing of some men, and in the frightening of 
others ; but the occupants of the room became, during the two 
entire months that the occurrence lasted, as much accustomed 
to them as one can become to any daily recurring annoyance.''* 

The above narrative is subscribed and attested by Hahn 
as follows : — 

" I saw and heard everything, exactly as here set down ; 
observing the whole carefully and quietly. I experienced no 
fear whatever; yet I am wholly unable to account for the 
occurrences narrated. 

" Written this 19th of November, 1808. 

"Councillor Hahn." 


Dr. Kemer, in the fourth edition of his " Seherin von Pre- 
vorst," informs us that the above narrative, when first printed 
by hnn, called forth various conjectured explanations of the 
mystery ; the most plausible of which was, that Kern, being 
an adept in sleight-of-hand, had, for his amusement, thus 
made sport of his companion. When the doctor communi- 
cated this surmise to Hahn, the latter replied that, if there 
were no other cause for rejecting such a suspicion, the thing 
was rendered absolutely impossible by the fact that some of 
the manifestations occurred not only when he, Hahn, was 
entirely alone in the room, but even when Kern was tempo- 
rarily absent on a journey. He adds, that Kern again and 
again urged him to le^ve the room ; but that he, (Hahn,) 
still hoping to discover some natural explanation of these 
events, persisted in remaining. Their chief reason for leaving 
at last was Kern's regret for the destruction of his favourite 
pipe, an article of value, which he had bought in Berlin, and 
which he highly prized. He adds, that Kern died of a ner- 
vous fever, in tne autumn of 1807. 

Writing to Dr. Kemer on the subject, from Ingelfingen, 
under date 24th August, 1828, that is, more than twenty 

• " Die Seherin von Prevorst," 4th ed., Stuttgart, 184fi, ^^. ^^^ \iCi ^^V^. 



years after the events occurred, Halm says, **I omitted no 
possible precautions to detect some natural cause. I am usually 
accused of too great scepticism rather than of superstition. 
Cowardice is not my fault, as those who know me intimately 
wiU testify. I could rely, therefore, on myself; and I can 
have been under no illusion as to the facts, for I often 
asked the spectators, *What did you seeP' and each time 
from their replies I learned that they had s^een exactly 
the same as I did myself." ... "I am at this moment 
entirely at a loss to assign any cause, or even any reasonable 
surmise, in explanation of these events. To me, as to aU who 
witnessed them, they have remained a riddle to this day. One 
must expect hasty judgments to be passed on such occurrences; 
and even in relating what has not only been seen by oneself, 
but also by others yet alive, one must be satisfied to incur the 
risk of being regarded as the dupe of an illusion."* 

Dr. Kemer farther adds, that, in the year' 1830, a gentleman 
of the utmost respectability, residing in Stuttgart, visited 
Slawensik for the purpose of verifying the above narrative. 
He there found persons who ridiculed the whole as a deceit ; 
but the only two men he met with, survivors of those who had 
actually witnessed the events, confirmed to hinn the accuracy 
of Hahn's narrative in every particular. 

This gentleman further ascertained that the Castle of 
Slawensik had been since destroyed, and that, in clearing 
away the ruins, there was found a male skeleton walled in and 
without coflin, with the skull split open. By the side of this 
skeleton lay a sword. ^ 

This being communicated to Hahn, he rq)lies, veiy ration- 
ally, " One may imj^ine some connection between tne disco- 
vered skeleton, the female image seen by Kern, and the 
disturbances we witnessed ; but who can really know anything 
about it ?" And he adds, finally — 

" It matters nothing to me whether others believe my 
narrative or not ! I recollect very well what I myself thought 
of such things before I had actually witnessed them, and I 
take it ill of nobody that he should pass upon them the same 
judgment which I would have passed previous to experience. 
A hundred witnesses will work no conviction in those who 
have made up their minds never to believe in anything of the 
kind. I give myself no trouble about such persons ; for it 
would be labour lost." 

* " Seherin von Prevorat," pp. 506, 507. 


This last letter of Halm's is dated May, 1831. During a 
quarter of a century, therefore, he retained, and reiterated, 
his conviction of the reality and unexplained character of the 
disturbances at Slawensik. 

From the same source whence the above is derived, I select 
another example, of a later date, and which has the advantage 
of having been witnessed by Kemer himself. 


Disturbances in the Village of Oberste^feld, 


Amid the mountains of Northern Wurtemberg, in the 
village of Prevorst, there was bom, in the year 1801, Madame 
Fredeiicke Hauffe, since well known to the world through 
Dr. Kemer's history of her life and sufferings, as the " Seeress 
of Prevorst."* 

Even as a child Madame Hauffe was in the habit of seeing 
what she believed to be disembodied spirits, not usually per- 
ceptible, however, by those aroimd her ; and this pecuharity, , 
whether actual faculty or mere hallucination, accompanied 
her through life. 

Kemer gives many examples. Throughout the year 1825, 
while residing in the village of Oberstenfeld, not far from 
Lowenstein, in the northern portion of the kingdom of 
Wurtemberg, Madame Hauffe was visited, or believed herself 
to be so, by the appearance, usually in the evening, about 
seven o*dock, of a male figure of dark complexion, which, she 
alleged, constantly begged for her prayers. With the 

* ''Die Seherm yon Prevorst, Eroffimngen uber das iimere Leben des 
Menschen, nnd iiber das Hereinragen einer G^eisterwelt in die nnsere.*' By 
Jnstinns Kemer, 4tli ed., Stuttgart and Tubingen, 1846, Svo, pp. 659. 

This work, of which there is an English translation by Mrs. Crowe, 
attracted much attention and criticism at the time of its first appearance, , 
and since. It was reviewed in the " Bevue des Deux Mondes" of July 15, 
1842, and there spoken of as ''one of the most strange and most con- 
Bcientiously elaborated works that has ever appeared on such a subject.*' 
Of Dr. Kemer himself the reviewer speaks as one of the ornaments of 

Another Beview, of February, 1846, notices in terms equally favourable the 
work and its author. It accords to Kemer a high reputation in his own 
country, not only as physician, but for his literary talents, and as a man of 
learning and of piety, — a man whose sincerity and good faith cannot be 
doubted even by the most sceptical. The reviewer further declares that the 
book itself contains many truths which will have to be admitted into our ^ 
system of physiology and psychology. ^| 


question of the reality of this appearance I have here nothing 
to do ; but I invite attention to the attendant circumstances. 
Kemer says, — 

" Each time before he appeared, his coming was announced 
to all present, without exception, by the sound of knockings 
or rappings, sometimes on one wall, sometimes on another, 
sometimes by a sort of clapping in the air, and other sounds, 
in the middle of the room. Of this there are still living 
more than twenty unimpeachable witnesses. 

" By day and by night were heard the sounds of some one 
going up-stairs ; but, seek as we would, it was impossible to 
discover any one. In the cellar the same knocKings were 
heard, and they increased in loudness. If the knocking was 
heard behind a barrel, and if any one ran hastily to look 
behind it and detect the cause, the knockings immediately 
changed to the front of the barrel ; and when one returned to 
the Sont they were again heard behind. The same thing 
occurred when it knocked on the walls of the room. If the 
knockings were heard outside, and one ran suddenly out to 
the spot, it immediately knocked inside ; and vice versd, 

" If the kitchen door was fastened at night ever so securely, 
even tied with twine, it stood open in the morning. It was 
constantly heard to open and shut ; yet, though one might 
rush to it instantly, no one could be seen to enter or depart. 

" Once, at about eleven o'clock at night, the disturbance 
was so violent that it shook the whole house ; and the heavy 
beams and rafters moved back and forth. Madame Hauffe's 
father, on this occasion, had nearly decided to abandon the 
house the next day. . . . 

" The poundings and cracking of the house were heard by 
passers-by in the street. At other times the knockings in 
the cellar had been such that all those who were passing 
stopped to listen. 

" Glasses were often removed from the table, (and, on one 
occasion, the bottle,), as if by an invisible hand, and placed on 
the floor. . So also the paper was taken from her father's 
writing-table, and thrown at him. 

" Madame Hauffe visited Ldwensteiu ; and there also the 
knockings and rappings were heard.*' 

The last of the alleged visits of this spirit was on the 6th 
of January, 1826. The above occurrences had been repeated, 
at intervals, throughout an entire year. 

There are various other examples of similar character in 
Kemer'a book ; but it is useless to multiply them. 

THE LAw-surr. 181 

As we approach our own time, the records of such distur- 
bances as we are here examining so increase in number that 
space fails me to reproduce them. I select the following as 
a sample, because the evidence adduced in proof that the phe- 
nomena were real, and that no mundane agency capable of 
producing them was ever discovered, is of a character such as 
daily decides questions touching men's property and lives. 


Disturbances in a Dwelling-house near Edinburgh. 


This case is remarkable as having given rise to legal pro- 
ceedmgs on the part of the owner of the house reputed to 
be haunted. It is related by Mrs. Crowe in her "Night 
Side of Nature ;" and the particulars were communicated to 
her ly the gentleman who conducted the suit for the plaintiff.* 
She does not give his name ; but from an Edinburgh friend 
I have ascertained that it was Mr. Maurice Lothian, a 
Scottish solicitor, now Procurator Fiscal of the county of 

A certain Captain Molesworth rented the house in question, 
situated at Trinity, two nules from E«iinburgh. from a Mr. 
Webster, in May, 1835. After two months' residence there, 
the captain began to complain of certain unaccountable 
noises, which, strangely enough, he took it into his head were 
made by his landloixL, Mr. Webster, who occupied the adjoin- 
ing dwelling. The latter naturally represented that it was 
not probable he should desire to damage the reputation of his 
own house, or drive a responsible tenant out of it ; and re- 
torted the accusation. Meanwhile the disturbances continued 
daily and nightly. Sometimes there was the sound as of 
invisible feet ; sometimes there were knockings, scratchings, 
or rustlings, first on one side, then on the other. Occasionally 
the unseen agent seemed to be rapping to a certain tune, and 
would answer, by so many knocks, any question to which the 
reply was in numbers ; as, " How many persons are there in 
this room P" So forcible at times were the poundings that 
the wall trembled visibly. Beds, too, were occasionally 
heaved up, as by some person underneath. Yet, search as 
they woiild, no one could be found. Captain Molesworth 

• " Night Side of Nature," Eoutledge and Co.'a edition, ^^« 4A& ^ 4ASI , 


caused the boards to be lifted in the rooms where the noises 
were loudest and most frequent, and actually perforated the 
wall that divided his residence from that of Mr. Webster ; 
but without the least result. SheriflF's officers, masons, justices 
of the peace, and the officers of the regiment quartered at 
Leith, who were friends of Captain Molesworth, came to his 
aid, in hopes of detecting or frightening away his tormentor ; 
but in vain. Suspecting that it might be some one outside 
the housCj they formed a cordon round it ; but all to no pur- 
pose. No solution of the mystery was ever obtained. 

Suit was brought before the SheriflF of Edinburgh, by Mr. 
Webster, against Captain Molesworth, for damages committed 
by lifting the boards, boring the walls, and fixing at the 
wainscot, as well as for injury done in giving the house the 
reputation of being haunted, thus preventing other tenants 
from renting it. On the trial, the facts above stated were all 
elicited by Mr. Lothian, who spent several hours in examining 
numerous witnesses, some of them officers of the army, ana 
gentlemen of undoubted honour and capacity for observation. 

It remains to be stated that Captaia Molesworth had had 
two daughters ; one of whom, named Matilda, had lately 
died, while the other, a girl between twelve and thirteen, 
named Jane, was sickly and usually kept her bed. It being 
observed that wherever the sick girl was the noises more 
frequently prevailed, Mr. Webster declared that she made 
them; and it would seem that her father himself must, to 
some extent, have shared the suspicion ; for the poor girl was 
actually tied up in a ba^, so as to prevent all possible agency 
on her part. K o cessation or diminution of the disturbance 
was, however, obtained by this harsh expedient. 

The people in the neighbourhood believed that the noises 
were produced by the ghost of Matilda warning her sister 
that she was soon to follow ; and this belief received confir- 
mation when that unfortimate young lady, whose illness may 
have been aggravated by the severe measures dictated by im- 
just suspicion, shortly after died. 

Occasionally such narratives are published as mere spe- 
cimens of a vulgar superstition, as by Mackay, ia his work on 
"Popular Delusions." He notices, as one of the latest 
examples of the panic occasioned by a house supposed to be 
haunted, incidents that took place — ^Uke those just narrated — 
in Scotland, and that occurred some twenty years ago, re- 
garding which he supplies the following particulars : — 



Disturbances in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. 


" On the 5tli of December, 1838, the inmates of the farm- 
house of Baldarroch, in the district of Banchory, Aberdeen- 
shire, were alarmed by observing a great number of sticks, 
pebble-stones, and clods of earth flying about their yard and 
premises. They endeavoured, but in vain, to discover who 
was the delinquent, and, the shower of stones continuing for 
five days in succession, they came at last to the conclusion 
that the devil and his imps were alone the cause of it. The 
rumour soon spread all over that part of the country, and 
hundreds of persons came from far and near to witness the 
antics of the devils of Baldarroch. After the fifth day, the 
showers of clods and stones ceased on the outside of the 
premises, and the scene shifted to the interior. Spoons, knives, 
plates, mustard-pots, rolling-pins, and flat-irons appeared 
suddenly endued with the power of self-motion, and were 
whirled from room to room, and rattled down the chimneys, 
in a manner nobody could account for. The lid of a mustard- 
pot was put into a cupboard by a servant-girl, in the presence 
of scores of people, and in a few minutes afterwards came 
bouncing down the chimney, to the consternation of every 
body. There was also a tremendous knocking at the doors 
and on the roof, and pieces of stick and pebble-stones rattled 
against the windows and broke them. The whole neigh- 
bourhood was a scene of alarm ; and not only the vulgar, but 
persons of education, respectable farmers within a circle of 
twenty miles, expressed tiieir belief in the supernatural cha- 
racter of these events." 

The excitement, Mackay goes on to state, spread, within 
a week, over the parishes of Banchory-Teman, Drumoak, 
Durris, Kincardine O'Neil, and all the adjacent district of 
Meams and Aberdeenshire. It was affirmed and believed that 
aU horses and dogs that approached the farm-house were im- 
mediately affected. The mistress of the house and the 
servant-girls said that whenever they went to bed they were 
pelted with pebbles and other missiles. The farmer himself 
travelled a distance of forty miles to an old conjuror, named 
Willie Foreman, to induce him, for a handsome fee, to re- 
move the enchantment from his property. The heritor, the 
minister, and aU the elders of the kirk instituted an in- 


vestigation, which, however, does not appear to have had any 

" After a fortnight's continuance of the noises," says Mac- 
kay, " the whole trick was discovered. The two servant-lasses 
were strictly examined, and then committed to prison. It 
appeared that they were alone at the bottom of the whole 
affair, and that the extraordinary alarm and credulity of their 
master and mistress in the first instance, and of the neigh- 
bours and country people afterwards, made their task com- 
paratively easy. A little conmion dexterity was all they had 
used ; and, being themselves unsuspected, they swelled the 
alarm by the wonderftd stories they invented. It was they 
who loosened the bricks in the chimneys, and placed the dishes 
in such a manner on the shelves that they fell on the slightest 

The proof that the girls were the authors of all the mischief 
appears to have rested on the fact that " no sooner were they 
secured in the county gaol than the noises- ceased ;" and thus, 
says Mackay, " most people were convinced that human 
agency alone had worked all the wonder." Others, however, 
he admits, still held out in their first belief, and were entirely 
dissatisfied with the explanation, as indeed they very well 
might be, if we are to trust to the details given by Mackay 
himself of these disturbances. 

For five days a shower of sticks, stones, and clods of earth 
are seen flying about the yard, and are thrown against Hhe 
windows, t Hundreds of persons come to witness the pheno- 

• " Popular Delusions," vol. ii. pp. 133 to 136. 

t This phenomenon, strange as it seems, is exactly paralleled in a recent 
case recorded in the " Gazette des Tribunaux'* and noticed by De Mirville 
in his work " Des Esprits," pp. 381 to 384. It occurred in Paris, in the 
populous quarter of Montague- Sainte-Grenevi^ve. A house on the street des 
Gi^s was pelted, for twenty-one mghts m succession^ by a shower of heavy 
missUes, driven against it in such quantities, and with such violence, that 
the front of the house was actually pierced in some places, the doors and 
windows were shattered to atoms, and the whole exhibited the appearance of 
a building that had stood a siege against stones from catapults or discharges 
of grape-shot. The " Gazette" says, " Whence come these projectiles, which 
are pieces of pavement, fragments of old houses, entire blocks of building- 
stone, which, from their weight and from the distance whence they caine, 
could not have been hurled by the hand of man ? Up to this day it has been 
impossible to discover the cause." Yet the police, headed by the Chief of 
, Police himself, was out every night, and placed a guard on the premises 
night and day. They employed, also, fierce dogs as guards ; but all in vain. 

De Mirville some time afterwards called personally on the proprietor of 
the house, and on the Commissary cf Police of that quarter. Both assured 
him in the most positive terms that, notwithstanding the constant pre- 


menon, and none of them can account for it. Is it credible, 
is it conceivable, that two girls, employed all day in menial 
duties under the eye of their mistress, should, by "a little 
common dexterity," have continued such a practical joke for 
five h(mr8 — ^to say nothing of five days — ^without being inevi- 
tably detected ? Then various utenial's in the house not only 
move, as if self-impelled, about the room, but are whirled 
from one room to another, or dropped down the chimney, in 
presence of crowds of witnesses. There is a tremendous 
knocking at the doors and on the roof, and the windows are 
broken by sticks and pebble-stones that rattle against them. 
This farce is kept up for ten days more, making the whole 
neighbourhood a scene of alarm, baffling the ingenuity of 
tenter, minister, and elders ; and we are asked to believe 
that it was all a mere prank of two servant-girls, effected by 
loosening a few bricks in the chimney, and placing the 
crockery so that it fell on slight motion ! A notable spe- 
cimen, surely, of the credulousness of incredulity ! 

One can understand that a court of justice should admit, as 
presumptive proof against the girls, the fact that firom the 
tiihe they were lodged in gaol the disturbances ceased. With 
the lights before them, the presumption was not unreasonable. 
But I have already adduced some proof, and shall here- 
after add more,* that such disturbances appear to attach to 
individuals (or, in other words, to occur in certain localities 
in their presence) without any agency — ^at least, any conscious 
agency — on the part of those persons themselves. 

Other narratives of this class, already in print, might here 
be introduced, did space permit. I instance one or two. 

In " Douglas Jerrold's Journal " of March 26, 1847, is the 
narrative of disturbances in the family of a Mr. Williams, 
residing in Moscow Road. Utensils and furniture were 
moved about and destroyed, almost exactly as in the case of 
Mrs. Golding and her maid. There is no record, however, of 
any knockings on the wfJls or floor. 

A similar case is detailed in the "Revue Fran9aise" for 

cautions taken by a body of men nnmatched for vigilance and sagacity, 
not the slightest clue to the mystery had ever been obtained, (pp. 384 
to 386.) 

* Of such examples, one of the most remarkable is that of the so-called 
•* Electric Girl," examined by Arago. I had careftdly prepared a narrative 
of this case from the original authorities, intending to introduce it here ; but, 
finding this volume swelling beyond the dimensions to which I had resolved 
to restrict it, I threw the stoiy out, and may publiah. it in. ^ ^\i\)x^ ^qp^. 


December, 1846, as having occurred in the house of a fanner 
at Glairefontaine, near Kamboiiillet. 

A narrative more remarkable and detailed than either of 
these will be found in Spicer's "Facts and Fantasies," as 
furnished in manuscript to the author by Mrs. E., a lady of 
fortune-tli-e disturbances running through four year,, 4., 
from August, 1844, to September, 1848. Here there were 
knockings and trampiugs so loud as to shake the whole house, 
besides openings of doors and windows, ringing of bells, 
noises as of moving of furniture, the rustling, in the very 
room, of a silk dress, the shaking of the beds in which they 
lay, the sound of carriages driving in the park when none 
were there, &c. This narrative is supported by the certifi- 
cates of servants, and of a police constable, who was sum- 
moned to remain at night on the premises, and to seek to dis- 
cover the cause of these annoyances. Some of the servants left 
the family, unable to endure the terror and loss of sleep. Mr. 
E. himself, after struggling for years against it, finally left the 

estate of L , where the disturbances took place, with the 

intention never to return to it.* 

These may be referred to by the curious. The following 
narrative, however, is so remarkable in itself, and comes to 
me so directly that it would be doing injustice to the subject 
to omit or abridge it. 


Disturbances in a Chapel in the Island of Oesel.f 


In the immediate vicinity of Ahrensburg, the only town in 
the island of Oesel, is the public cemetery. Tasteftdly laid 
out and carefully kept, planted with trees and partly sur- 
rounded by a grove dotted with evergreens, it is a favourite 
promenade of the inhabitants. Besides its tombs — ^ia every 
variety, from the humblest to the most elaborate — ^it contains 
several private chapels, each the burying-place of some family 
of distinction. Underneath each of these is a vault, paved 
with wood, to which the descent is by a stairway from inside 

* " Facts and Fantasies ;" a seqnel to " Sights and Sounds, the Mystery 
of the Day ;** by Henry Spicer, Esq., London, 1853, pp. 76 to 101. 

t The island of Oesel, in the Baltic, is possessed by Bussia, having been 
ceded to that Power, by the Treaty of Nystadt, in 1721. It constitutes part 
of Livonia, 


the chapel, and closed hy a door. The coffins of the members 
of the family more recently deceased usually remain for a 
time in the chapel. They are afterwards transferred to the 
vaults, and there placed side by side, elevated on iron bars. 
These coffins it is the custom to make of massive oak, very 
heavy, and strongly put together. 

The public highway passes in front of the cemetery and at 
a short distance therefrom. Conspicuous, and to be seen by 
the traveller as h^ rides by, are three chapels, facing the 
highway. Of these the most spacious, adorned with pillars in 
front, is that belonging to the family of Buxhoewden, of 

fatrician descent, and originally from the city of Bremen, 
t has been their place of interment for seveftl generations. 
It was the habit of the coimtry people, coming in on horse- 
back or with carts on a visit to the cemetery, to fasten their 
horses, usually with very stout halters, immediately in front 
of this chapel, and close to the pillars that adorned it. This 
practice continued, notwithstanding that, for some eight or 
ten years previous to tJte incidents about to be narrated, there 
had been from time to time vague rumours of a mysterious 
kind connected with the chapel in question as being haimted — 
rumours which, however, aa they could not be traced to any 
reliable source, were little credited, and were treated by its 
owners with derision. 

The chief season of resort to the cemetery by persons from 
all parts of the island whose relatives lay buried there was on 
Pentecost Simday and the succeeding days — ^these being there 
observed much in the same manner as in most Catholic 
countries All-Souls Day usually is.* 

On the second day of Pentecost, Monday, the 22nd of Jime 
(new style), in the year 1844, the wife of a certain tailor 
named Dalmann, living in Ahrensburg, had come with a horse 
and small cart to visit, with her children, the tomb of her 
mother, situated behind the Buxhoewden family chapel, and 
had fastened her horse, as usual, in front of it, without im- 
hamessing him, proposing, as soon as she had completed her 
devotions, to visit a friend in the coimtry. 

While kneeling in silent prayer by the grave, she had an 
indistinct perception, as she afterwards remembered, that she 
heard some noises in the direction of the chapel; but, ab- 
sorbed in other thoughts, she paid at the time no attention to 

• The religion of the island is the Protestant ; though of late y«ax% ^fc- 
tempts have been made to procnre oonverts to the OreeV CjVl^ox^. 


it. Her prayers completed, and returning to prosecute her 
joumev, she foimd her horse — ^usually a quiet animal — ^in an 
inexplicable state of excitement. Covered with sweat and 
foam, its limbs trembling, it appeared to be in mortal terror. 
When she led it off, it seemed scarcely able to walk ; and, 
instead of proceeding on her intended excursion, she foimd 
herself obliged to return to town and to call a veterinary 
surgeon. He declared that the horse must have been exces- 
sively terrified from some cause or other, bled it, adminis- 
tered a remedy, and the animal recovered. 

A day or two afterwards, this woman, coming to the chateau 
of one of the oldest noble families of Livonia, the Baron de 
Guldenstubb^, aear Ahrensburg, as was her wont, to do 
needlework for the family, related to the baron the strange 
incident which had occurred to her. He treated it lightly, 
imagining that the woman exaggerated, and that her horse 
might have been accidentally frightened. 

The circimistance woidd have been soon forgotten had it 
not been followed by others of a similar character. The 
following Sunday several persons, who had attached their 
horses in front oi the same chapel, reported that they found 
them covered with sweat, trembling, and in the utmo&t terror; 
and some among them added that they had themselves heard, 
seeming to proceed from the vaults of the chapel, rumbling 
sounds which occasionally (but this might have been the 
effect of imagination) assumed the character of groans. 

And this was but the prelude to further disturbances, 
gradually increasing in frequency. One day in the course of 
the next month (JiJy) it happened that eleven horses were 
fastened close to the columns of the chapel. Some persons, 
passing near by, and hearing, as they alleged, loud noises,* 
as if issuing from beneath the building, raised the alarm ; and 
when the owners reached the spot they found the poor animals 
in a pitiable condition. Several of them, in their frantic 
efforts to escape, had thrown themselves on the ground, 
and lay struggling there ; others were scarcely able to walk 
or stand ; and all were violently affected, so that it became 
necessary immediately to resort to bleeding and other means 
of relief. In the case of three or four of them these means 
proved unavailing. They died within a day or two. 

* Getose was the German word employed by the narrator in speaking to 
me of these sounds. It is the term often used to designate the rolling of 
distant thunder. Schiller says, in his Tomcher — 

'* Und wie mit des femen Donner^s Gretdse." 


This was serious. And it was the cause of a formal com- 
plaint beinff made by some of the suflFerers to the Consistory — 
a coiirt ho%^ its dttinga at Alirensburg, and having cWge 
of ecclesiastical affairs. 

About the same time, a member of the Buxhoewden family 
died. At his ftmeral, during the reading in the chapel of the 
service for the dead, what seemed groans and other strange noises 
were heard from beneath, to the great terror of some of the 
assistants, the servants especially. The horses attached to 
the hearse and to the mourning coaches were sensibly affected, 
but not so violently as some of the others had been. After 
the interment, three or four of those who had been present, 
bolder than their neighbours, descended to the vault. While 
there they heard nothing ; but they foimd, to their infinite 
surprise, that, of the numerous coffins which had been depo- 
sits there in due order side by side, almost all had been 
displaced and lay in a conftised pile. They sought in vain 
for any cause that might account for this. The doors were 
always kept carefully fastened, and the locks showed no signs 
of having been tampered with. The coffins were replaced in 
due order. 

This incident caused much talk, and, of course, attracted 
additional attention to the chapel and the alleged disturbances. 
Children were left to watch the horses when any were fastened 
in its vicinity ; but they were usually too much frightened 
to remain ; and some of them even alleged that they had seen 
some dark-looking spectres hovering in the vicinity. The 
stories, however, related by them on this latter head were set 
down — ^reasonably enough, perhaps — ^to accoimt of their ex- 
cited fears. But parents began to scruple about taking their 
children to the cemetery at all. 

The excitement increasing, renewed complaints on the 
subject reached the Consistory, and an inquiry into the matter 
was proposed. The owners of the chapd at first objected to 
this, treating the matter as a trick or a scandal set on foot by 
their enemies. But though they carefully examined the floor 
of tjie vault, to make sure that no one had entered from 
beneath, they could find nothing to confirm their suspicions. 
And the Baron de Guldenstubb^, who was president of the 
Consistory, having visited the vaults privately in company 
with two members of the family, and having foimd the coffins 
again in the same disorder, they finally, alter restoring^ the 
coffins to their places, assented to an official investigation of 
the affair. 


The persons charged with this investigation were the Baron 
de Guldenstubb^, as president, and the bishop of the province, 
as vice-president, of the Consistory; two other members of 
the same body ; a physician, named Luce ; and, on the part 
of the magistracy of the town, the burgomeister, named 
Schmidt, one of the syndics, and a secretary. 

They proceeded, in a body, to institute a carefiil examina- 
tion of the vault. All the coflSns there deposited, with the 
exception of three, were found this time, as before, displaced. 
Of the three coffins forming the exception, one contained the 
remiiins of a grandmother of the then representative of the 
family, who had died about five years previous ; and the two 
others were of yoimg children. The grandmother had been, 
in life, revered almost as a saint, for her great piety and con- 
stant deeds of charity and benevolence. 

The first suggestion which presented itself, on discovering 
this state of things, was that robbers might have broken in 
for the sake of plunder. The vault of an adjoining chapel 
had been forcibly entered some time before, and the nch 
velvet and gold fnnge which adorned the coffins had been cut 
off and stolen. But the most careful examination failed to 
£umish any groimds for such a supposition in the present case. 
The ornaments of the coffins were found imtouched. The 
commission caused several to be opened, in order to ascertain 
whether the rings or other articles of jeweUery which it was 
customary to bury with the corpses, and some of which were 
of considerable value, had been taken. No indication of this 
kind, however, appeared. One or two of the bodies had 
mouldered almost to dust, but the trinkets known to have 
formed part of the funeral apparel still lay there, at the 
bottom of the coffins. 

It next occurred, as a possibility, to the commission, that 
some enemies, of the Bu^dioewden family, wealthy, perhaps, 
and determined to bring upon them annoyance and re- 
proach, might have caused to be excavated a subterranean 
paaisage, its entrance at a distance and concealed so as to avoid 
observation, and the passage itself passing imder the founda- 
tions of the building and opening into the vault. This might 
ftimish sufficient explanation of the disarray of the coffins and 
of the noises heard from without. 

To determine the point, they procured workmen, who took 
up the pavement of the vamt, and carefully examined the 
foimdations of the chapel ; but without any result. The most, 
careftd scrutiny detected no secret entrance. 


Nothing remained but to replace everything in due order, 
taking exact note of the position of the coffins, and to adopt 
especial precautions for the detection of any future intrusion. 
This, accordingly, was done. Both doors, the inner and the 
outer, after being carefully locked, were doubly sealed — ^first 
with the official seal of the Consistoiy, then witn that bearing 
the arms of the city. Fine wood-ashes were strewed all over 
the wooden pavement of the vault, the stairs leading down to 
it from the chapel, and the floor of the chapel itself. Finally, 
guards, selected from the garrison of the town, and relieved at 
short intervals, were set for three days and nights to watch 
the building and prevent any one from approaching it. 

At the end of that time the commission of inquiry returned 
to ascertain the result. Both doors were foimd securely 
locked and the seals inviolate. They entered. The coating 
of ashes still presented a smooth, imbroken surface. Neither 
in the chapel nor on the stairway leading to the vault was 
there the trace of a footstep, of man or animal. The vault 
was sufficiently lighted from the chapel to make every object 
distinctly visible. They descended. With beating hearts, 
thevr gazed on the spectacle before them. Not only was every 
coffin, with the same three exceptions as before, displaced, 
and the whole scattered in confusion over the place, but many 
of them, weighty aa they were, had been set on end, so that 
the head of the corpse was downward. Nor was even this all. 
The lid of one coffin had been partially forced open, and there 
projected the shrivelled right arm of the corpse it contained, 
showing beyond the elbow ; the lower arm being turned up 
toward the ceiling of the vault ! 

The first shock over, which this astoimding sight produced, 
the commission proceeded careftdly to take note, in detail, of 
the condition of things aa they found them. 

No trace of human footstep was discovered in the vault, any 
more than on the stairs or in the chapel. Nor was there 
detected the slightest indication of any felonious violation. A 
second search verified the fact that neither the external orna- 
ments of the coffins nor the articles of jewellery with which 
some of the corpses had been decorated were abstracted. 
Everything was disarranged ; nothing was taken. 

They approached, with some trepidation, the coffin from 
one side of which the arm projected ; and, with a shudder, 
they recognised it as that in miich had been placed the re- 
mains of a member of the Buxhoewden family who had com- 
mitted suicide. The matter had been hushed up at the time^ 
through the influence of the family, and. tlaa a^-dkfi^\xQrs^t\isA. 


been buried with the usual ceremonies ; but the fact trans- 
pired, and was known all over the island, that he was found 
with his throat cut, and the bloody razor still grasped in his 
right hand — ^the same hand that was now thrust forth to 
human view from imder the coffin-lid — a ghastly memorial, it 
seemed, of the rash deed which had ushered the unhappy 
man, uncalled, into another world ! 

An official report, setting forth the state of the vault and of 
the chapel at the time when the commission set seals upon the 
doors, verifying the fact that the seals were afterwards found 
unbroken and the coating of ashes intact, and, finally, detail- 
ing the condition of things as they appeared when the com- 
mission revisited the chapel at the end of the three days, was 
made out by the Baron de Guldenstubb^, as president, and 
signed by himself, by the bishop, the,burgomeister, the phy- 
sician, and the other members of the commission, as witnesses. 
This document, placed on record with the other proceedings 
of the Consistory, is to be found among its archives, and may 
be examined by any travellers, respectably recommended, on 
application to its secretary. 

Never having visited the island of Oesel, I had not an 
opportimity of personally inspecting this paper. But the facts 
above narrated were detailed to me by Mademoiselle de Gul- 
denstubb^,* daughter of the baron, who was residing in her 
father's house at the time, and was cognizant of each minute 
particular. They were confirmed to me, also, on the same 
occasion, by her brother, the present baron. 

This lady informed me that the circimistances produced so 
great an excitement throughout the whole island, that there 
could not have been found, among its fifty thousand inha- 
bitants, a cottage inmate to whom they were not familiar. She 
added that the effect upon the physician, M. Luce, a witness 
of these marvels, was such as to produce a radical change in 
his creed. An able man, distinguished in his profession, 
familiar, too, with the sciences of botany, mineralogy, and 
geology, and the author of several works of repute on these 
subjects, he had imbibed the materialistic doctnnes that were 
prevalent, especially amon^ scientific men, throughout con- 
tinental Europe, in his college days ; and these he retained 
until the hour when, in the Buxhoewden vault, he became 
convinced that there are ultra-mundane as well as earthly 
powers, and that this is not our final state of existence. 

It remains to be stated that, as the disturbances continued 

* AtFariB,oiit)ieS\:bLo{l&Kj,\^^* 

THE m^AL mrz* 193 

ftir wtwenl flMntlM after thiA mTefltigation, the familj, in 
Mder to get rid of the amioyaDcey resonred to tiy the effiget of 
hmrymg the e«)IBm. This ther did, coreriiig them op, to a 
cmwi derable depch, with earth* The expedient .me<^4ded. 
From tha(t time forth no nouei^ were heard to proceed from 
tike ehapel ; hf^fnea eoold be fastened with imranit j before it ; 
and the inhabitants, reeorerinj^ fiT»m their alarm, fr^iiented 
WTCh their children, as a^nal, tneir faroarite resort* Nothing 
lewained but the memory of the past ocearrences — to £ide 
away as the present generation dies out, and perhaps to be 
legairded by the next as an idle legend of the inerediMe. 

To nsy meanwhile, h is more than a legend. Fifteen years 
only hare elapsed since the date of ifA fiK^jfjareikce, We hare 
the testimony of liring witnesses to its truth. 

The salient points m the narrative are, first, the extreme 
ttfror of the animals, ending, in two or three cases, in death ; 
aady secondly, the rjfficial character of the inrestigation, and 
Ae minute precautions taken by the commission of inqtdry to 
prefrent or detect deceptir>n. 

The evidence rescdting from the first point Ls of the strongest 
kind. In such a case it m imprjssible that animah should 
nnilate ; eonally imprjssiFJe that they sh^/nld be acted opon 
\0f imagination. Their Uirrryr was real, an/l had a real and 
adequate cause. Bat can the caose be considered adefjoate if 
we set down these nf>ises as of an ordinary character ? A 
eottSDon sr>and, mtich louder and mr>re startling than we can 
SB{)fMse those frr>m the chapel to have been — thunder, for 
ioBtonee, when at no great aistance— often frightens horses, 
hat iktrer, so £ar as I know or have heard, to such a degree 
m to prodoce death. 

To say nothing of the well-known case recorded in Scrip- 
tve,^ Tarioos examples more or less analogous to the abore 
wiD be fcond thrr>Qgfaf>nt this volume. 

An to the additional pror>f supplied by the resolt of the 
rffainl inqtriry, it is diihcolt, onder any snppositirm, to explain 
h mwxy. The only hypothesis, short of idtra^nrandane inter* 
ftscnce, that seems left to ns is that which oceorred to the 
eoflamission — namely, the possibility of an tmdergrocmd 
fjHsngr, But, even if we consent to believe that these 
ttntLnnen, after the suggestion occurred to them and they 
lad sent ibr workmen expressly to resolve their doabts, could 


yet suflfer the work to be so carelessly done that the secret 
entrance escaped them at last, another difficulty remains. 
The vault had a wooden pavement. A portion of this, indeed, 
could be easily raised by a person desiring to effect an entrance. 
But, after a coat of ashes had been strewn over it, how could 
any one, working from beneath, replace it so as to leave on 
the surface of the ashes no trace of the operation ? 

Finally, if these disturbances are to be ascribed to trickery, 
why should the tricksters have discontinued their persecution 
as soon as the coffins were put imder ground? 

This last difficulty, however, exists equally in case we 
adopt the spiritual hypothesis. If to interference from 
another world these phenomena were due, why should that 
interference have ceased from the moment the coffins were 

And for what object, it may on the same supposition be 
further asked, such interference at all ? It appears to have 
effected the conversion from materialism of the attendant 
physician — ^possibly of others ; but is that sufficient reply ? 

By many it will be deemed insufficient. But, even if it be, 
our Ignorance of Divine motive cannot invalidate facts. We 
are not in the habit of denying such phenomena as an 
eruption of Vesuvius, or a devastating earthquake, on account 
of our inability to comprehend why Providence ordains them. 

It remains at last, therefore, a simple question of fact. 
Having stated the circumstances exactly as I had them from 
a source as direct as can well be, and having added the 
suggestions to which in my mind they give rise, it rests with 
the reader to assign to each the weight which he may think 
it merits. 

All these occurrences, it will be observed, date previous to 
the spring of March, 1848, when the first disturltences, thd 
origin of Spiritualism in the United States, took place in the 
Fox fanuly, and cannot, therefore, by possibility be imagined 
to have resulted from that movement. The same may be said 
of other European narratives of a somewhat later date ; for it 
was not imtil the commencement of the year 1852 that the 
excitement which gradually followed the Kochester knockings 
attained such an extension as to cause the phenomena of 
rapping and table-turning to be known and talked of in 

From the latter I select one, the circumstances connected 
with which gave rise, as in a previous example, to legal pro- 


ceedings ; and I restrict myself to the evidence given under 
oath in the course of trial. We can scarcely obtain stronger 
testimony for any past occurrence whatever. 


Disturbances in the Department of the Seine, France, 1850-51. 

In the winter of 1850-51, certain disturbances of an extra- 
ordinary character occurred in the parsonage of Cideville, a 
village and commune near the town of Yerville, in the 
Department of Seine-IufSrieure, about thirty-five miles east 
of Havre, and eighty miles north-west of Paris. This 
parsonage was occupied by M. Tinel, parish priest and curate 
Df Cideville. 

The rise and continuance of these disturbances appeared to 
lepend on the presence of tw^ children, then of the age of 
bwelve and fourteen respectively, sons of respectable parents, 
Uiemselves of amiable dispositions and good character, who 
liad been intrusted to the care of the curate to be educated 
for the priesthood, and who resided in the parsonage. 

The disturbances commenced, in the presence of these 
jhildren, on the 26th of November, 1850, and continued 
laily, or almost daily — ^usually in the room or rooms in 
vtich the children were — ^for upwards of two months and a 
ialf, namely imtil the 15th of February, 1851, the day on 
vhich the children, by order of the Archbishop of Paris, 
rere removed from the parsonage. From that day all noises 
aid. other disturbances ceased.* 

It so happened, from certain circumstances preceding and 
ittendant upon these strange phenomena — chiefly, however, 
t would seem, in consequence of his own idle boasts of secret 
)owers and knowledge of the black arts — ^that a certain shep- 
lerd residing in the neighbouring commime of Anzouville- 
'Esvenal, named Felix Thorel, gradually came to be suspected, 
W the more credulous, of practising sorcery against the 
Children, and thus causing the disturbances at the parsonage 
rhdch had alarmed and excited the neighbourhood. It 
appears that the curate, Tinel, shared to some extent this 

• "The cshildren, when taken from M. Tinel, were intrusted to the care of 
£. Faavel, parish priest of St. Ouen du Breuil, who testifies to their good 
iharacter and conduct. See his letter in De Mirville's pamphlet, " Frag- 
nent d'un Ouvrage in^dit.** It does not appear that the disturbancefl fol- 
owed them to their new home. 

K 2 


popular fancy, and expressed tlie opinion that the shepherd 
was a sorcerer and the author of the annoyances in question. 

Thereupon Thorel, having lost his place aa shepherd in 
consequence of such suspicions, brought suit for defamation 
of character against the curate, laying the damages at twelve 
hundred francs. The trial was commenced before the justice 
of the peace of Yerville on the 7th of January, 1851, wit- 
nesses heard (to the niunber of eighteen for the prosecution 
and sixteen for the defence) on the 28th of January and suc- 
ceeding days, and final judgment rendered on the 4th of 
February following. 

In that dociunent, after premising that, " whatever might 
be the cause of the extraordinary facts which occurred at the 
parsonage of Cideville, it is clear, from the siun total of the 
testimony adduced, that the cause of these facts still remains 
unknown ;" after premising further, " that although, on the 
one part, the defendant, (the curate,) according to several 
witnesses, did declare that the prosecutor (the shepherd) had 
boasted of producing the disturbances at the parsonage of 
Cideville, and did express his (the defendant's) own suspicions, 
that he (the prosecutor) was the author of them, yet, on the 
other hand, it is proved by numerous witnesses that the said 
prosecutor had said and done whatever lay in his power to 
persuade the public that he actually had a hand in their per- 
petration, and particularly by his vaimts to the witnesses 
Cheval, Vareu, LetteUier, Foulongue, Le Hernault, and 
others ;'* and, further, after deciding that, in consequence, 
**the prosecutor cannot maintain a claim for damages for 
alleged defamation of which he was himself the first author," 
the magistrate gave judgment for the defendant, (the curate,) 
and condemned the prosecutor (the shepherd) to pay the ex- 
penses of the suit. 

Within ten days after the rendition of this judgment, a 
gentleman who had visited the parsonage during these dis- 
turbances, had there witnessed many of the more extraordinary 
phenomena, and was himself one of the witnesses at the 
trial — ^the Marquis de Mirville, well known to the literary 
world of Paris as the author of a recent work on Pneimia- 
tology — collected from the legal record all the documents 
connected with the trial, including the prods-verbal of the 
testimony ; this last being, according the French forms of 
justice, taken down at the time of the deposition, then read 
over to each witness and its accuracy attested by him. 


It is from these official docmnents, thus collected at the 
time as appendix to a pamphlet on the subject,* that I 
translate the following details of the disturbances in question, 
embodying those phenomena upon which the the main body 
of the witnesses agreed, and omittiQg such portions of the 
testimony as are immaterial or imcorroborated ; also such as 
specially refer to the proofs for and against the charge of 
defamation^ and to the alleged agency of the shepherd 

On Tuesday, the 26th of November, 1850, as the two 
children were at work in one of the rooms in the upper story 
of the parsonage, about five o'clock in the afternoon, they 
heard knockings, resembling light blows of a hammer, on the 
wainscoting of the apartment. These knockings were con- 
tinued daily throughout the week, at the same hour of the 

On the next Sunday, the 1st of December, the blows com- 
menced at mid-day ; and it was on that day that the curate 
first thought of addressing them. He said, " Strike louder ! " 
Thereupon the blows were repeated more loudly. They con- 
tinued thus aU that day. 

On Monday, December 2nd, the elder of the two boys said 
to the knockings, ^^ Beat time to the tune of " Maltre Cor- 
beau," and they immediately obeyed. 

The next day, Tuesday, December 3rd, the boy having re^ 
lated the above circumstances to M. Tinel, he, (Tinel,) being 
much astonished, resolved to try, and said, " Play us " Maitre 
Corbeau;" and the knockings obeyed The afternoon of 
that day, the knockings became so loud and violent that a 
table in the apartment moved somewhat, and the noise was 
so great that one could hardly stay in the room. Later in 
the same afternoon, the table moved from its place three 
times. The curate's sister, after assuring herself that the 
children had not moved it, replaced it ; .but twice it followed 
her back again. The noises continued, with violence, all that 


On Monday, December 9th, there being present Auguste 
Huet, a neighbouring proprietor, the curate of Limesy, and 
another gentleman, the yoimger child being also present, but 

• " Fragment d'un Ouvrage inedit," published by Vrayet de Surcy, Paris, 
1852. (The unpublished work here referred to is De Mirville's well-known 
Tolnme on Fneumatology.) 

t Testimony of Gostare Lemonier and of Clemexit B\m^ 


with his arms folded, Huet tapped with his finger on the 
edge of the table, and said, " Strike as many blows as there 
are letters in my name." Four blows were immediately 
struck, at the very spot, imder his finger. He was convinced 
it could not be done by the child, nor by any one in the 
house. Then he asked it to beat time to the air of " Au Glair 
de la Lime,'* and it did so.* 

The Mayor of CidevUle deposes to the fact that, being in 
the parsonage, he saw the tongs leap from the fire-place into 
the room. Then the shovel did the same thing. The mayor 
said to one of the children, " How, Qxistave ! what is that ?" 
The child replied, "I did not touch it." The tongs and 
shovel were then replaced, and a second time they leaped for- 
ward into the room. This time, as the mayor testified, he 
had his eyes fixed upon them, so as to detect the trick in case 
any one pushed them ; but nothing was to be 8een.f 

M. Leroux, curate of Saussay, deposes that, being at the 
parsonage, he witnessed things that were inexplicable to him. 
He saw a hammer fly, impelled by an invisible force, from the 
spot where it lay, and fall on the floor of the room without 
more noise than if a hand had lightly placed it there. He 
also saw a piece of bread that was lying on the table move of 
itself and fall below the table. He was so placed that it was 
impossible that any one could have thrown these things with- 
out his seeinff him do it. He also heard the extraordinary 
noises, and Lk ever^. possible precaution, even to Bla<4 
himself imder the table, to assure himself that the children 
did not produce them. So sure was he of this, that, to use 
his own expression, he would " sign it with his blood." ( Je 
le signerais de mon sang.) He remarked that M. Tinel ap- 
peared exasperated by these noises and their continued repeti- 
tion ; and he added that, having slept several nights in the 
same room as M. Tinel, the latter awoke in a fright at the 
disturbances. J 

The deposition of the Marquis de Mirville, proprietor at 
Gomerville, is one of the most circumstantial. He testifies to 
the following efiect. Having heard much of the disturbances 
at Cideville, he suddenly resolved one day to go there. The 
distance from his residence is fourteen leagues. He arrived 
at the parsonage at nightfall, imexpected by its inmates, and 
passed the evening there, never losing sight of the curate nor 

* Testimony of Angaste Huet. 
f Testimony of Adolphe ChevaJ, Mayor of Cideville. 
i Testixaony of Martin TranqnSl© liexoxisL, C\ure.tQ of Saassay. 


leaving him a moment alone with the children^ The curate 
knew the marquis's name, but only from a letter of introduc- 
tion which the latter had brought. 

M. de Mirvdlle passed the night at the parsonage, the curate 
having given up to him his bed, in the same room in which the 
children slept. No disturbance during the night. The next 
morning one of the children awoke him, and said, " Do you 
hear, sir, how it scratches ?" 

" What, my child ?" 

" The spirit." 

And the marquis heard, in effect, a strong scratching on 
the mattress of the children's bed. He notified the mysteri- 
ous agent, however, that he should not think the noises 
worth listening to unless the theatre of operations was re- 
moved from where the children were. Then the knockings 
were heard above the bed. " Too near yet !" said M. de 
Mirville. "Go and knock at that comer," (pointing to a 
distant comer of the room.) Instantly the knocking was 
heard there. " Ah !" said the marquis, " now we can con- 
verse : strike a single blow if you agree." A loud blow for 

So, after breakfast, the curate having gone to mass and the 
children being in the room at their studies, he carried out his 
intention, thus : — 

" How many letters are there in my name ? Answer by 
the number of strokes." 

Eight strokes were given. 

" How many in my given name P" 

Five strokes. (Jules,) 

" How many in my pre-nameP" (pre-nom, a name, he re- 
marked, by which he was never called, and which was only 
known from his baptismal record.) ' 

Seven strokes. (Charles.) 

" How many in my eldest daughter's name ?" 

Five strokes. (Aline.) 

"How many in my yoimger daughter's name P" 

Nine strokes. This time the first error, the name being 
Blanche ; but the blows immediately began again and struck 
seven, thus correcting the original mistake. 

" How many letters in the name of my commune P but 
take care and don't make a common mistake in spelling it." 

A pause. Then ten strokes — the correct number of Gomer^ 
ville, often erroneously spelled Gommerville. 

At the request of this witness, the knockmg^ \ieaX» ^Bas^^ \si 


several airs. One, the waltz from " Guillaume Tell/' which, 
it could not beat, was hummed by M. de Mirville. After a 
pause, the knockmgs followed the measure note by note ; and 
it was several times repeated in the course of the day. 

The witness, being asked if he thought the curate could 
be himself the author of these disturbances, replied, " I should 
be greatly astonished if any person in this neighbourhood 
could entertain such an opinion."* 

Madame de Saint- Victor, residing in a neighbouring cha- 
teau, had frequently visited the parsonage — at first, as she 
deposed, completely incredulous, and convinced that she could 
discover the cause of the disturbances. On the 8th of Decem- 
ber, after vespers, being in the parsonage, and standing apart 
from any one, she felt her mantle seized by an invisible force, 
so as to give her a strong puU or shock, {une forte aecousse,) 
Among various other phenomena, just one week before she 
gave her evidence, (January 22,) while she was alone with 
the children, she saw two desks, at which they were then 
engaged in writing, upset on the floor, and the table upset on 
the top of them. On the 28th of January, she saw a candle- 
stick take flight from the kitchen chimney-piece, and strike 
her femme-de-chambre on the back. She also, in company 
with her son, heard the knockings beat the measure of various 
airs. When it beat " Maitre Corbeau," she said, " Is that all 
you know P" Whereupon it immediately beat the measure 
of " Claire de Lune" and " J'ai du bon Tabac." During th^ 
beating of several of these airs, being alone with the children, 
she observed them narrowly — ^their feet, their hands, and all 
their movements. It was impossible that they should have 
done it.f 

Another important witness, M. Robert de Saint- Victor, son 
of the preceding witness, deposed as foUows : — On the invita- 
tion of the curate, several days after the disturbances began, 
he visited the parsonage, about half-past three in the after- 
noon. Going upstairs, after a time he heard sKght knock- 
ings on the wainscot. They resembled, yet were not exactly 
like, sounds produced by an iron point striking on hard wood. 
The witness arrived quite incredulous, and satisfied that he 
could discover the cause of these knockings. The first day they 
strongly excited his attention, but did not secure his convic- 
tion. The next day, at ten o'clock, he returned. Several 

* Testimony of Charles Jules de Mirville. 

t Deposition of Marie-Fran9oise Adolphine Dechamps de Bois-Heberfc, 
wife of H. de Saint- Victor. 


popular songs were then, at his request, beaten in time. The 
same day, about three o'clock, he heard blows so heavy that 
he was sure a maUet striking on the floor would not have pro- 
duced the like. Towards evening these blows were continued 
almost without interruption. At that time, M. Cheval, the 
Mayor of Cideville, and the witness, went over the house 
together. They saw, several times, the table at which the 
children were sitting move from its place. To assure them- 
selves that this coidd not possibly be the children's doing, 
they placed both the children in the middle of the room ; then 
M. Cheval and the witness sat down to the table, and felt it 
move away from the wall several times. They tried by main 
force to prevent it from moving ; but their united eflEbrts were 
unavaUing. In spite of them, it moved from ten to twelve 
centimetres, (about four inches,) and that with a imiform 
motion, without any jerk. The witness's mother, who was 
present, had previously testified to the same fact.* While 
the curate was gone to the church, the witness remained alone 
with the children ; and presently there arose such a clatter in 
the room that one could hardly endure it. Every piece of 
furniture there was set in vibration. And the witness con- 
fessed that he expected every moment that the floor of the 
apartment would sink beneath his feet. He felt convinced that 
if every person in the house had set to work, together, to 
pound with mallets on the floor, they could not have produced 
such a. racket. The noise appeared especially to attach itself 
to the younger of the two children, the knockings being 
usually on that part of the wainscot nearest to where he hap- 
pened to stand or sit. The child appeared in constant terror. 

The witness finally became thoroughly convinced that the 
occidt force, whatever its precise character, was intelligent. 
When he returned, several days later, to the parsonage, the 
phenomena continued with still increasing violence. One 
evening, desiring to enter the room where the children usually 
sat, the door resisted his efforts to open it — sl resistance which, 
the witness averred, he could not attribute to a natural cause ; 
for when he succeeded in pushing it open, and entering the 
room, there was no one there. Another day, it occurred to 
him to ask for an air but little known — the " Stabat Mater " of 
Bossini ; and it was given with extraordinary accuracy. 

Returning, some days later, on the renewed invitation of 
the curate, this witness went upstairs ; and at the- moment 

* See testimony of Madame de Saiat-Yvstot, 



when he came opposite the door of the upper room, a desk 
that stood on the table at which the children usually studied 
(but they were not there at the time) started from its place, 
and came towards the witness with a swift motion, and foUow- 
ing a line parallel with the floor, until it was about thirty 
centimetres (one foot) from his person, when it fell vertically 
to the floor. The place where it fell was distant about two 
metres (between six and seven feet) from the table.* 

The witness Bouffay, vicar of St. Maclou, stated that he had 
been several times at the parsonage. The first time he heard 
continued noises in the apartments occupied by the children. 
These noises were intelligent and obedient. On one occasion, 
the witness sleeping in the children's room, the uproar was so 
violent that he thought the floor would open beneath him. 
He heard the noises equally in the presence and the absence of 
the curate ; and he took especial notice that the children were 
motionless when the disturbances occurred, and evidently 
could not produce them. On one occasion, the witness, wim 
the curate and the children, slept at a neighbour's house to 
escape the continued noises, f 

The deposition of Dufour, land-agent at Yerville, was to 
the efiect that, on the 7th of December, being at dinner in the 
parsonage, knockings were heard above. Mademoiselle Tinel 
said, " Do you hear ? These are the noises that occur.'* The 
witness went upstairs, and found the children sitting each at 
one end of the table, but distant from it fifty or sixty centi- 
metres (about two feet.) He heard strokes in the wall, which 
he is sure the children did not make. Then the table ad- 
vanced into the room without any one touching it. The wit- 
ness put it back in its place. It moved forward a second time 
about three metres (about ten feet) into the room, the children 
not touching it. As the witness was going down stairs, 
he stopped on the first step to look round at the table, and 
saw it come forward to the edge of the stairway, impelled by 
an invisible force. The witness remarked that the table had 
no castors. This occurred while the curate was absent from 
the parsonage. J 

The witness Gobert, vicar of St. Maclou, testified that 
when the curate of Cideville and the two children came to his 
(Gobert's) house, he heard, on the ceiling and walls of his 


* Testimony of M. Baonl Robert de Saint- Victor. 

t Testimony of Athanase Boufiay, Vicar of St. Maclou, of Bonen. 

j Testimony of Nicolas-Boni&^e Dnfour, Land Agent at Yerville. 


apartment, noises similar to those which he (Gobert) had 
before heard at the Cideville parsonage.* 

Such are the main facts to which witnesses in this strange 
suit testified. I have omitted those which rested only on the 
testimony of the children. The industry of M. de Mirville 
has collected and embodied in the pamphlet referred to addi- 
tional evidence, in the shape of several letters written by 
respectable gentlemen who visited the parsonage during the 
disturbances. One is from the assistant judge of a neigh- 
bouring tribunal, M. Rousselin. He found the curate pro- 
foundly afficted by his painful position, and obtained from 
him every opportunity of cross-questioning, separately, the 
children, M. Tinel's sister, and his servant. Their entire 
demeanour bore the impress of truthfulness. Their testimony 
was clear, direct, and imiformly consistent. He found the 
window-panes broken, and boards set up against them- Ano- 
ther gentleman states that, on his arrival at the parsonage, 
he was struck with the sad and imhappy look of the curate, 
who, he adds, impressed him, from his appearance, as a most 
worthy man. 

All these letters fully corroborate the preceding testimony- 

I doubt if it be possible to find a case more explicit or better 
authenticated than the foregoing. Yet it is certain that the 
phenomena it discloses, closely as these resemble what has 
been occurring for ten years past all over the United States, 
are not traceable, directly or indirectly, through the influ- 
ence of imitation, epidemic excitement, or otherwise, to the 
Spiritual movement among us. The history of the Rochester 
knockings, then but commencing here, had never reached 
the humble parsonage of Cideville, and afibrded no explana- 
tion to its alarmed inmates of the annoyances which broke 
their quiet and excited their fears. 

I might go on, indefinitely, extending the number of 
similar narratives, but a repetition woidd prove nothing more 
than is established by the specimens already given. I there- 
fore here close my fist of disturbances occurring in Europe, 
and proceed to furnish, in conclusion, from the most au- 
thentic sources, that example, already referred to, occurring 
in our own country, which has become known, in Europe as 
well as America, under the name of the " Rochester Knock- 

* Testimony of Adalbert Honore Gobert, Vicar of St. Maclou, of Bouen. 



Disturbances in Western New York, 1848. 

There stands, not far from the town of Newark, in the 
county of Wayne and State of New York, a wooden dwelling 
— one of a cluster of small houses like itself, scarcely meriting 
the title of a village, but known under the name of Hydes- 
ville ; being so called after Dr. Hyde, an old settler, whose 
son is the proprietor of the house in question. It is a story 
and a half high, fronting south ; the lower floor consisting, 
in 1848, of two moderate-sized rooms, opening into each 
other; east of these a bed-room, opening into the sitting- 
room, and a buttery, opening into the same room ; together 
'W^ith a stairway (between the bed-room and buttery), leading 
from the sitting-room up to the half-story above, and from 
the buttery down to the cellar. 

This himible dwelling had been selected as a temporary 
residence, during the erection of another house in the country, 
by Mr. John D. Fox. 

The Fox family were reputable farmers, members of the 
Methodist Church, in good standing, and much respected by 
their neighbours as honest, upright people. Mr. Fox's 
ancestors were Germans, the name being originally Voss; 
but both he and Mrs. Fox were native bom. In Mrs. Fox's 
family, French by origin and Rutan by name, several indi- 
viduals had evinced the power of second-sight— her maternal 
grandmother, whose maiden name was Margaret Ackerman, 
and who resided at Long .Island, among the number. She 
had, frequently, perceptions of funerals before they occurred, 
and was wont to follow these phantom processions to the 
grave as if they were material. 

Mrs. Fox's sister also, Mrs. Elizabeth Higgins, had similar 
power. On one occasion, in the year 1823, the two sisters, 
then residing in New York, proposed to go to Sodus by 
canal. But Elizabeth said, one morning, "We shall not 
make this trip by water." "Why so?" her sister asked. 
" Because I dreamed last night that we travelled by land, 
and there was a strange lady with us. In my dream, too, I 
thought we came to Mott's tavern, in the Beech woods, and 
that they coidd not admit us, because Mrs. Mott lay dying in 
the house. I know it wiU all come true." " Very unlikely 



indeed/* replied her sister ; " for last year, when we passed 
there, Mr. Mott's wife lay dead in the house/' " You will 
see. He must have married again ; and he will lose his 
second wife.'* Every particular came to pass as Mrs. Hig- 
gins had predicted. Mrs. Johnson, a stranger, whom at the 
time of the dream they had not seen, did go with them, they 
made the journey by land,, and were refused admittance into 
Mott's tavern, for the very cause asigned in Mrs. Higgins's 

Mr. and Mrs. Fox had six children, of whom the two 
yoimgest were staying with them when, on the 11th of 
December, 1847, they removed into the house I have de- 
scribed. The children were both girls : Margaret, then twelve 
years old ; and Kate, nine. 

Soon after they had taken up their residence in the dwell- 
ing referred to, they began to think it was a very noisy 
house ; but this was attributed to rats and mice. During the 
next month, however (January, 1848), the noise began to 
assume the character of slight knockings heard at night in 
the bed-room ; sometimes appearing to soimd from the cellar 
beneath. At first Mrs. Fox sought to persuade herself this 
might be but the hammering of a shoemaker, in a house hard 
by, sitting up late at work. But further observation showed 
that the sounds, whencesoever proceeding, origiaated in the 
house. For not only did the knockings gradually become 
more distinct, and not only were they heard first in one part 
of the house, then in another, but the family finally remarked 
that these raps, even when not very loud, often caused a 
miotion, tremmous rather than a sudden jar, of the bedsteads 
and chairs — sometimes of the floor; a motion which was 
quite perceptible to the touch when a hand was laid on the 
chairs, which was sometimes sensibly felt at night in the 
slightly oscillating motion of the bed, and which was occa- 
sionally perceived as a sort of vibration even when standing 
on the floor. 

After a time, also, the noises varied in their character, 
sounding occasionally like distinct footfalls in the different 

Nor were the disturbances, after a month or two had 
passed, confined to sounds. Once something heavy, as if a 
dog, seemed to lie on the feet of the children ; but it was 
gone before the mother coidd come to their aid. Another 
time (this was late in March) Kate felt as if a cold hand on 
her face. Occasionally, too, the bed-clothea ^^st^ ^^siisaftL 


during the night. Finally, chairs were moved from their 
places. So, on one occasion, wajs the dining-table. 

The disturbances, which had been limited to occasional 
knockings throughout February and the early part of March, 
gradually increased, towards the close of the latter month, in 
loudness and frequency, so seriously as to break the rest of 
the family. Mr. Fox and his wife got up night after night, 
lit a candle, and thoroughly searched every nook and comer 
of the house ; but without any result. They discovered 
nothing. When the raps came on a door, Mr. , Fox would 
stand, ready to open, the moment they were repeated. But 
this expedient, too, proved unavailing. Though he opened 
the door on the instant, there was no one to be seen. Nor 
did he or Mrs. Fox ever obtain the slightest clue to the cause 
of these disturbances. 

The only circumstance which seemed to suggest the possi- 
bility of trickery or of mistake was, that these various unex- 
plained occurrences never happened in daylight. 

And thus, notwithstanding the strangeness of the thing, 
when morning came they began to think it must have been 
but the fancy of the night. Not being given to superstition, 
they clung, throughout several weeks of annoyance, to the 
idea that some natural explanation of these seeming accidents 
would at last appear. Nor did they abandon this hope till 
the night of Friday, the Slst of March, 1848. 

The day had been cold and stormy, with snow on the 
ground. In the course of the afternoon, a son, David, came 
to visit them from his farm, about three miles distant. His 
mother then first recounted to him the particidars of the 
annoyances they had endured ; for till now they had been 
little disposed to communicate these to any one. He heard 
her with a smile. " Well, mother," he said, " I advise you 
not to say a word to the neighbours about it. When you 
find it out, it will be one of the simplest things in the world." 
And in that belief he returned home. 

Wearied out by a succession of sleepless nights and of 
fruitless attempts to penetrate the mystery, the Fox family 
retired on that Friday evening very early to rest, hoping for 
a respite from the disturbances that harassed them. But 
they were doomed to disappointment 

The parents had had the children's beds removed into 
their bed-room, and strictly enjoined them not to talk of 
noises even if they heard them. But scarcely had the 
mother sieeii them safely ia bed> apd was retiring to Test her- 


self, when the children cried out, " Here they are again !" 
The mother chid them, and lay down. Thereupon the noises 
became louder and more startling. The children sat up in 
bed. Mrs. Fox called in her husband. The night being 
windy, it suggested itself to him that it might be the rattling 
of the sashes. He tried several, shaking them to see if they 
were loose. Kate, the youngest girl, happened to remark 
that as often as her father shook a window-sash the noises 
seemed to reply. Being a lively child, and in a measure 
accustomed to what was going on, she turned to where the 
noise was, snapped her fingers, and called out, "Here, old 
Splitfoot, do as I do !" The knocking instantly responded. 

That was the very commencement. Who can tell where 
the end will be ? 

I do not mean that it was Kate Fox who thus, half in 
childish jest, first discovered that these mysterious sounds 
seemed instinct with intelligence. Mr. Mompesson, two 
hundred years ago, had already observed a similar pheno- 
menon. Glanvil had verified it. So had Wesley and his 
children. So, we have seen, had others. But in all these 
cases the matter rested there, and the observation was no 
fiirther prosecuted. As, previous to the invention of the 
steam-engiae, sundry observers had trodden the very thresh- 
hold of the discovery and there stopped, little thinking what 
lay close before them, so, in this case, where the Royal Chap- 
lain, disciple though he was of the inductive philosophy, and 
where the founder of Methodism, admitting though he did 
the probabilities of ultra-mundane interference, were both at 
fault, a Yankee girl, but nine years old, following up, more 
in sport than earnest, a chance observation, became the insti- 
gator of a movement which, whatever its true character, has 
had its influence throughout the civilized world. The spark 
had several times been ignited — once, at least, two centuries 
ago ; but it had died out each time without effect. It kindled 
no flame till the middle of the nineteenth century. 

And yet how trifling the step from the observation at 
Tedworth to the discovery at Hydesville ! Mr. Mompesson, 
in bed with his little daughter, (about Kate's age,) whom the 
sound seemed chiefly to follow, "observed that it would 
exactly answer, in drumming, anything that was beaten or 
called for." But his curiosity led him no further. 

Not so Kate Fox. She tried, by silently bringing together 
her thumb and forefinger, whether she could still obtain a 
response. Yes ! It could see, then, as ^eW. «(a\iAaT\ 'StL^ 


called her mother. " Only look, mother ! " she said, bring- 
ing together her finger and thumb as before. And as often 
as she repeated the noiseless motion, just so often responded 
the raps. 

This at once arrested her mother's attention. " Count ten," 
she said, addressing the noise. Ten strokes, distinctly given 1 
"How old is my daughter Margaret?'' Twelve strokes! 
" And Kate ? " Nine ! " What can all this mean ? " was 
Mrs. Fox's thought. Who was answering her P Was it only 
some mysterious echo of her own thought? But the next 
question which she put seemed to refiite that idea. " How 
many children have I?" she asked aloud. Seven strokes. 
" Ah ! " she thought, " it can blunder sometimes." And 
then, aloud, " Try again ! " Still the number of raps was 
seven. Of a sudden a thought crossed Mrs. Fox's mind. 
" Are they all alive ? " she asked. Silence, for answer. 
*' How many are living P " Six strokes. " How many 
dead ? " A single stroke. She had lost a child. 

Then she asked, are you a man J?" No answer. "Are 
you a spirit ? " It rapped. " May my neighbours hear if I 
call them ? " It rapped again. 

Thereupon she asked her husband to call a neighbour, a 
Mrs. Redfield, who came in laughing. But her cheer was 
soon changed. The answers to her inquiries were as prompt 
and pertinent as they had been to those of Mrs. Fox. She 
was struck with awe ; and when, in reply to a question about 
the number of her children, by rapping four, instead of three 
as she expected, it reminded her of a little daughter, Mary, 
whom she had recently lost, the mother burst into tears. 

But it avails not fiither to follow out in minute detail the 
issue of these disturbances, since the particulars have already 
been given, partly in the shape of formal depositions, in more 
than one publication,* and since they are not essential to the 
illustration of this branch of the subject. 

* The earliest of these, pubKshed in Canandaigua only three weeks after 
the occnrrences of the 31st of March, is a pamphlet of forty pages, entitled 
" A Report of the Mysterious Noises heard in the house of Mr. John D. Fox, 
in Hydesville, Arcadia, Wayne County, authenticated by the certificates and 
confirmed by the statements of the citizens of that place and vicinity." 
Ganandaigna, published by E. E. Lewis, 1848. It contains twenty-one certifi- 
cates, chiefly given by the immediate neighbours, including those of Mr. and 
Mrs. Fox, of their son and daughter-in-law, of Mrs. Bedfield, Ac., Ac., taken 
chiefly on the 11th and 12th of April. For a copy of the above pamphlet, now 
very scarce, I am indebted to the &,mily of Mr. Fox, whom I visited in 
August, 1859, at the house of the son, Mr. David Fox, when I had an oppor- 
tnnitytomspQ(^ the small dwelling in which the above related circomstancea 


It may, however, be satisfactory to the reader that I here 
subjoin to the above narrative — every particular of which I 
bad from Mrs. Fox, her daughters Margaret and Kate, and 
ber son David — ^a supplement, containing a brief outline as 
well of the events which immediately succeeded, as those, 
connected with the dwelling in question, which preceded, the 
disturbances of the 31st of March. 

On that night the neighbours, attracted by the rumour of 
the disturbances, gradually gathered in, to the number of 
seventy or eighty, so that Mrs. Fox left the house for that of 
Mrs. Kedfield, while the children were taken home by another 
aeighbour. Mr. Fox remained. 

Many of the assembled crowd, one after another, put 
[juestions to the noises, requesting that assent might be 
testified by rapping. When there was no response by raps, 
and the question was reversed, there were always rappings ; 
thus indicating that silence was to be taken for dissent. 

In this way the soimds alleged that they were produced by 
a spirit ; by an injured spirit ; by a spirit who had been 
injured in that houjse, between four and five years ago ; not 
by any of the neighbours, whose names were called over one 
by one, but by a man who formerly resided in the house — a 
certain John C. Bell, a blacksmith. His name was obtained 
by naming in succession the former occupants of the house. 

The noises alleged, further, that it was the spirit of a man 
thirty-one years of age ; that he bad been murdered in the 
bed-room, for money, on a Tuesday night, at twelve o'clock ; 
that no one but the murdered man and Mr. Bell were in the 
house at the time, Mrs. Bell and a girl named Lucretia 
Pulver,»who worked for them, being both absent; that the 
body was carried down to the cellar early next morning, not 
through the outside cellar-door, but by being dragged through 

took place ; descending to its cellar, the aJleged scene of dark deeds. The 
house is now occupied by a farm-labourer, who, Faraday-like, " does not be- 
lieve in spooks" 

A mora connected account, followed up by a history of the movement which 
had birth at Hydesville, is to be found in " Modem Spiritualism : its Facts 
and Fanaticisms," by E. W. Capron, Boston, 1855, pp. 83 to 56. 

Most of the witnesses signing the certificates above referred to offer to 
oonfirm their statements, if necessary, under oath ; and they almost all ex- 
pressly declare their conviction that the &mily had no agency in producing 
the sounds, that these were not referable to trick or deception or to any 
known natural cause, usually adding that they were no believers in the 
supernatural, aud had never before heard or witnessed anything not suscep- 
tible of a natural explanation. 


the parlour into the buttery and thence down the cellar-stairs; 
that it was buried ten feet deep, in the cellar, but not until 
the night after the murder. 

Thereupon the party assembled adjourned to the cellar, 
which had an earthen floor ; and Mr. Redfield having placed 
himself on various parts of it, asking, each time, if that was 
the spot of burial, there was no response until he stood in the 
centre : then the noises were heard, as firom beneath the 
ground. This was repeated several times, always with a 
similar result, no sound occurring when he stood at any 
other place than the centre. One of the witnesses describes 
the sounds in the cellar as resembling " a thumping a foot 
or two under groimd.^' * 

Then a neighbour named Duesler called over the letters of 
the alphabet, asking, at each, if that was the initial of the 
murdered man's first name ; and so of the second name. 
The sounds responded at C and B. An attempt to obtain the 
entire name did not then succeed. At a later period the fuU 
name (as Charles B. E/Osma) was . given in the same way in 
reply to the questions of Mr. David Fox. Still it did not 
suggest itself to any one to attempt, by the raps, to Itave 
a communication spelled out. It is a remarkable fact, and 
one which in a measure explains the lack of further residts at 
Tedworth and at Epworth, that it was not till about four 
months afterwards, and at Rochester, that the very first brief 
communication by raps was obtained ; the suggestor being 
Isaac Post, a member of the Society of Friends, and an old 
acquaintance of the Fox family. 

The report of the night's wonders at Hydesville spread all 
over the neighbourhood ; and next day, Saturday, the house 
was beset by a crowd of the curious. But while daylight 

* " Report of the Mysterious Noises," p. 25. See also p. 17. 

Mr. Marvin Losey and Mr. David Fox state, in their respective certifi- 
cates, that on the night of Saturday, April 1st, when the crowd were asking 
questions, it was arranged that those in the cellar should all stand in one 
place, except one, Mr. Carlos Hyde, while that one moved about in different 
spots ; and that Mr. Duesler, being in the bedroom above, where of course 
he could not see Mr. Hyde nor any one else in the cellar, should be the ques* 
tioner. Then, as Mr. Hyde stepped about in the cellar, the question was 
repeated by Mr. Duesler in the bedroom, "Is any one standing over the 
place where the body was buried ?" In every instance, as soon as Mr. Hyde 
stepped to the centre of the cellar the raps were heard, so that both those in 
the cellar and those in the rooms above heard them ; but as often as he stood 
anywhere else there was silence. This was repeated, again and again.— 
Report of the Mysteriovs Noises, pp. 26 and 28. • 


lasted there were no noises* These recommenced before 
seven o'clock in the evening. That night there were some 
three hundred people in and about the house.f Various 
persons asked questions ; and the replies corresponded at 
every point to those formerly given. 

Then it was proposed to dig in the cellar ; but, as the house 
stands on a flat plain not far from a small sluggish stream, 
the diggers reached water at the depth of less than three feet, 
and had to abandon the attempt. It was renewed on Monday, 
the 3rd of April, and again the next day, by Mr. David Fox 
and others, baling and pumping out the water, but they could 
not reduce it much, and had to give up. J 

At & later period, when the water had much lowered, to 
wit, in the summer of 1848, Mr, David Fox, aided by Messrs. 
Henry Bush and Lyman Granger, of Rochester, and others, 
recommenced digging in the cellar. At the depth of five 
feet they came to a plank, through which they bored with an 
auger, when, the auger-bit being loose, it dropped through 
out of sight. Digging farther, they found several pieces of 
crockery and some charcoal and quicklime, indicating that the 
soil must at some time have been disturbed to a considerable 
depth; and, finally, they came upon some human hair and 
several bones, which, on examination by a medical man skilled 
in anatomy, proved to be portions oi a human skeleton, in- 
cluding two bones of the hand and certain parts of the skull ; 
but no connected skull was found.§ 

It remains briefly to trace the antecedents of the disturbed 

William Duesler, one of those who gave certificates touch- 
ing this matter, and who offers to confirm his testimony 
under oath, states that he inhabited the same house seven 
years before, and that during the term of his residence there 
he never heard any noise of the kind in or about the premises. 
He adds that a Mr. Johnson, and others, who, like himself, 
had lived there before Mr. BeU occupied the dwelling, make 
the same statement.! 

* The next ^ay, however, Sunday, April 2, this was reversed. The noises 
responded throughout the day, but ceased in the evening, and were not 
obtained throughout the night. — Report of the Mysterious Noises, p. 9. 

t " Report of the Mysterious Noises," p. 15. 

i Ibid. p. 29. 

§ "Modem Spiritualism," p. 53. Mr. David Fox, during my visit to 
him, confirmed to me the truth of this. 

II " Report of the Mysterious Noises," p. 16. 


Mrs. Pulvfer, a near neighbour, states that, having called 
one morning on Mrs. Bell .whUe she occupied the house, she 
(Mrs. B.) told her she felt very ill, not having slept at all 
during the previous night ; and, on being asked what the 
matter was, Mrs. Bell said she had thought she heard some 
one walking about from one room to another. Mrs. Pidver 
further deposes that she heard Mrs. Bell, on subsequent occa- 
sions, speak of noises which she coidd not accoiint for.* 

The daughter of this deponent, Lucretia Pulver, states that 
she lived with Mr. and Mrs. Bell during part of the time they 
occupied the house, namely, for three months during the 
winter of 1843 — 44, sometimes working for them, sometimes 
boarding with them, and going to school, she being then 
fifteen years old. She says Mr. and Mrs. Bell " appeared to be 
very good folk, only rather quick-tempered." 

She states that, during the latter part of her residence with 
them, one afternoon, about two o'clock, a pedlar, on foot, 
apparently about thirty years of age, wearing a black frock- 
coat and light-coloured pantaloons, and having with him a 
trunk and a basket, called at Mr. Bell's. Mrs. Bell informed 
her she had known him formerly. Shortly after he came in, 
Mr. and Mrs. Bell consulted together for nearly half an hour 
in the buttery. Then Mrs. BeU told her — ^very imexpectedly 
to her — that they did not require her any more ; that she 
(Mrs. B.) was going that afternoon to Lock Berlin, and that 
she (Lucretia) had better return home, as they thought they 
could not afibrd to keep her longer. Accordingly, Mrs. Bell 
and Lucretia left the house, the pedlar and Mr. Bell remain- 
ing. Before she went, however, Lucretia looked at a piece of 
delaine, and told the pedlar she woidd take a dress oflF it if he 
woidd call the next day at her father's house, hard by, which 
he promised to do ; but he never came. Three days after- 
wards, Mrs. Bell returned, and to Lucretia's surprise, sent for 
her again to stay with them. 

A few days after this, Lucretia began to hear knocking in 
the bedroom — afterwards occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Fox — 
where she slept. The sounds seemed to be imder the foot of 
the bed, and were repeated during a number of nights. One 
night, when Mr. and Mrs. Bell had gone to Lock Berlin, and 
she had remained in the house with her little brother and a 
daughter of Mr. Losey, named Aurelia, they heard, about twelve 
o'clock, what seemed the footsteps of a man walking in the 

* " Beport of the MyBterioxa "NoisQs " pp. 37, 38. 


buttery. They had not gone to bed till eleven, and had not 
yet fallen asleep. It sounded as if some one crossed the 
buttery, then went down the cellar-stair, then walked part of 
the way across the cellar, and stopped. The girls were greatly 
frightened, got up and fastened the doors and windows. 

About a week after this, Lucretia, having occasion to go 
down into the cellar, screamed out. Mrs. Bell asked what 
was the matter. Lucretia exclaimed, " What has Mr. Bell 
been doing in the cellar ?" She had sunk in the soft soil, and 
&.llen. Mrs. Bell replied it was only rat-holes.' A few days 
afterwards, at nightfall, Mr. Bell carried some earth into the 
cellar, and was at work there some time, Mrs. Bell said he 
was filling up the rat-holes.* 

Mr. and Mrs. Weekman depose that they occupied the 
house in question, after Mr. BeU left it, during eighteen 
months, namely, from the spring of 1846 till the autumn 
of 1847. 

About March, 1847, one night as they were going to bed 
they heard knockings on the outside door ; but when they 
opened there was no one there. This was repeated, till 
Mr. Weekman lost patience ; and, after searching all round 
the house, he resolved, if possible, to detect these disturbers 
of his peace. Accordingly, he stood with his hand on the 
door, ready to open it at the instant the knocking was re- 
peated. It was repeated, so that he felt the door jar under 
his hand; but, though he sprang out instantly and searched 
all round the house, he foiuid not a trace of any intruder. 

They were frequently afterwards disturbed by strange and 
imaccountable noises. One night Mrs. Weekman heard what 
seemed the footsteps of some one walking in the cellar. 
Another night one of her little girls, eight years old, screamed 
out, so as to wake every one in the house. She said something 
cold had been moving over her head and face ; and it was 
long ere the terrified child was pacified, nor woidd she consent 
to sleep in the same room for several nights afterwards. 

Mr. Weekman offers to repeat his certificate, if required, 
under oath.f 

But it needs not further to multiply extracts from these 
depositions. Nothing positive can be gathered from them. 
It is certain, however, that the pedlar never reappeared in 
Hydesville nor kept his promises to call. On the other hand, 

*, " Report of the Mysterious Noises," pp. 35, 36, 37. 1 have added a few 
minor particulars, related by Lucretia to Mrs. Fox, 
t Ibid., pp. 33, 34. 


Mr. Bell, who had removed early in 1846 to the town of 
Lyons, in the same county, on hearing the reports of the 
above disclosures, came forthwith to the scene of his former 
residence, and obtained from the neighbours, and made pubUe, 
a certificate setting forth that "they never knew anything 
against his character," and that when he lived among them 
" they thought him, and still think him, a man of honest and 
upright character, incapable of committing crime." This 
certificate is dated Apnl 5 (six days after the first com- 
munications), and is simed bv forty-four persons. The 
author of the " Report of the Mysterious Noises," in giving 
it entire, adds that others besides the signers are willing to 
join in the recommendation.* 

It is proper also to state, in this connection, that, a few 
months afterwards — to wit, in July or August, 1848^ — a cir- 
cumstance occurred at Rochester, New York, somewhat 
analogous in character, and indicating the danger of in- 
dulging, without corroborating evidence, in suspicions aroused 
by alleged spiritual information. A young pedlar, with a 
waggon and two horses, and known to be possessed of several 
hundred dollars, having put up at a tavern in that city, 
suddenly disappeared. Public opinion settled down to the 
belief that he was murdered. An enthusiastic Spiritualist 
had the surmise confirmed by the raps. Through the same 
medium the credulous inquirer was informed that the body 
lay in the canal, several spots being successively indicated 
where it coidd be found. These were anxiously dragged, but 
to no purpose. Finally, the dupe's wife was required to go 
into the canal at a designated point, where she would certainly 
discover the corpse ; in obeying which injunction she nearly 
lost her life. Some months afterwards, the alleged victim 
reappeared : he had departed secretly for Canada, to avoid 
the importunities of his creditors, f 

In the Hydesville case, too, there was some rebutting 
evidence. The raps had alleged that, though the pedlar's 

* " Report of the Mysterions Noises," pp. 38, 39. 

t For details, see " Modem Spiritualism," pp. 60 — 62. If we concede the 
reality of the spirit-rap, and if we assume to judge of ultra-mundane inten- 
tions, we may imagine that the purpose was, by so early and so marked a 
lesson, to warn men, even from the commencement, against patting implicit 
faith in spiritual communications. 

It is worthy of remark, however, that there is this great difference in these 
two cases, that the Hydesville communications 6ame by spontaneous agency, 
uncalled for, unlooked for,, while those obtained at Eochestei^. were evoked 
and expected. 


wife was dead, his five children lived in Orange County, New 
York ; but all efibrts to discover them there were fruitless. 
Nor does it appear that any man named E/Osma was ascertained 
to have resided there. 

It remains to be added that no legal proceedings were ever 
instituted, either against Mr. Bell, in virtue of the suspicions 
aroused, or by him against those who expressed such sus- 
picions. He finally left the country. 

It is evident that no sufficient case is made out against 
him. The statements of the earthly witnesses amount to 
circumstantial evidence only ; and upon unsupported ultra- 
mundane testimony no dependance can be placed. It may 
supply hints; it may suggest inquiries; but assurance it 
cannot give. 

The Hydesville narrative, however, as one of imexplained 
disturbances, like those at Cideville, at Ahrensburg, at Sla- 
wensik, at Epworth, and at Tedworth, rests for verification on 
the redlity of the phenomena themselves, not on the accuracy 
of the extrinsic information aUeged to be thereby suppHed. • 

With this case I close the list of these narrations ; for to 
follow up similar examples, since occurring throughout our 
country,* would lead me away, from my object, into the his- 
tory of the rise and progress of the Spiritual movement itself. 

If ■ 

J * Afl that occurring at Stratford, Connecticut, in the house of the Bev. 

*< Dr. Eliakim Phelps, more whimsical, and also more surprising, in many of 

*" its modifipations, than any of those here related ; conmiencing on the 10th 

I of March, 1850, and continuing, with intvervals, a year and nine months ; 

r* namely, till the 15th of December, 1851. A detailed account of this case 

• will be found in " Modem Spiritualism," pp. 132 — 171. 



I HAVE few words to add, in summing up the foregoing evi- 
dence, that the disturbances which give rise to rumours of 
haunted houses are, in certain cases, actual and unexplained 

Little comment is needed, or is likely to be useful. There 
are men so hard-set in their preconceptions on certain points 
that no evidence can move them. Time, and the resistless 
current of public sentiment, alone aVail to urge them on. 
They must wait. And as to those whose ears are still open, 
whose convictions can still be reached, few, I Venture to pre- 
dict, wiU put aside, unmoved and incredulous, the mass of 
proof here brought together. Yet a few considerations, briefly 
stated, may not be out of place. 

The testimony, in most of the examples, is direct and at 
first hand, given by eye and ear witnesses, and placed on 
record at the time. 

It is derived from reputable sources. Can we take excep- 
tion to the character and standing of such witnesses as Joseph 
Glanvil, John Wesley, Justinus Kemer P Can we object to 
the authority of Mackay, a sceptic and a derider ? Does not 
the narrative of Hahn evince in the observer both coolness 
and candour ? As to the Ahrensburg story, it is the daughter 
of the chief magistrate concerned in its investigation who 
testifies. And where shall we find, among a midtitude of 
witnesses, better proof of honesty than in the agreement in 
the depositions at Cideville and at Hydesville ? 

The phenomena were such as could be readily observed. Many 
of them were of a character so palpable and notorious, that for 
the observers to imagine them was a sheer impossibility. The 
thundering blows at Mr. Mompesson's shook the house, and 
awoke the neighbours in an adjoining village. The poundings 
at Madame Hauffe's displaced the rafters, and arrested the 
attention of passers-by in the street. At Epworth, let them 
make what noises they might, the " dead, hollow note would 
be clearly heard above them all." At Hydesville, the house 
was abandoned by its occupants, and hundreds of the curious 


assembled, night after night, to test the reality of the knock- 
ings Vhich sounded from every part of it. 

There was ample opportunity to observe. The occurrences 
were not single appearances, suddenly presenting themselves, 
quickly passiQg away : they were repeated day after day, 
month after month, sometimes year after year. They could 
be tested and re-tested. Nor did they produce in the wit- 
nesses an evanescent belief, fading away after sober reflection. 
Mr. Mompesson, Councillor Hahn, Emily Wesley, when half 
a lifetime had passed by, retained, and expressed, the same 
unwavering conviction as at first. 

The narratives fail neither in minute detail of circumstance, 
nor in specifications of person, of time, and of place. 

The observers were not influenced by expectancy, nor 
biassed by recital of previous examples. The phenomena, 
indeed, have been of frequent occurrence ; exhibiting an un- 
mistakable family likeness, constituting a class. Yet not in a 
single instance does this fact appear to have J^een known to 
the observers. That which each witnessed he beKeved to be 
unexampled. Neither at Tedworth, nor Epworth, nor Sla- 
wensik, nor Baldarroch, nor Ahrensburg, nor Cideville, nor 
Hydesville, do the sufferers seem to have known that others 
had suffered by similar annoyance before. The more reliable, 
on that account, is their testimony. 

There was not only no motive for simulation, but much 
temptation to conceal what actually occurred. Mr. Mompes- 
son suffered in his name and estate. Mrs. Wesley strictly 
enjoined her son to impart the narrative to no one. Judge 
Rousselin found the curate of Cideville profoundly afflicted by 
his painftd position. Mrs. Fox's health (as I learned) suffered 
seriously from grief. " What have we done," she used to 
say, " to deserve this P" We can readily conceive that such 
m.ust have been the feeling. What more mortifying or pain- 
ful than to be exposed to the suspicion of being either a wilful 
impostor, or else the subject of punishment, from Heaven, for 
past misdeeds ? 

Finally, the phenomena were sometimes attested by the 
official records of public justice. So, during the trial of the 
drummer, the suit of Captaia Molesworth,'and the legal pro- 
ceedings instituted, at Cideville, against the shepherd Thorel. 
Where shall we seek a higher grade of human evidence P 

If such an array of testimony as this, lacking no element 
of trustworthiness, converging from numerous independent 
cources, yet concurrent -through two centuries, be uot eGi\^<^ 



to credit, then what dependance can we place on the entire 
records of history ? What becomes of the historical evidence 
for any past event whatever ? If we are to reject, as fable, 
the narratives here submitted, are we not tacitljr indorsing 
the logic of those who argue that Jesus Christ never lived P 
Nay, must we not accept as something graver than pleasantry 
that pamphlet, in which a learned and ingenious Churchman 
sets forth plausible reasons for the belief that rumour, in her most 
notorious iterations, may be but a lying witness, and that it is 
doubtful whether Napoleon Buonaparte ever actually existed P* 

* ** Historic Doubts relative to Napoleon Buonaparte," hy Archbishop 
Whateley, 12th ed., London, 1855. 








The evidence for a fixture Kfe derived from an occasional 
appearance of the dead, provided that appearance prove to be 
an objective phenomenon, and provided we do not misconceive 
its character, is of the highest grade. If it be important, 
then, to obtain a valuable contribution to the proofs of the 
soul's immortality, what more worthy of our attention than 
the subject of apparitions ? 

But m proportion to its importance and to its extraordinary 
character is the urgent propriety that it be scrupulously, 
even distrustfully, examined, and that its reality be tested 
with dispassionate care. 

For its discussion involves the theory of hallucination ; a 
branch of inquiry which has much engaged, as indeed it 
ought, the attention of modem physiologists. 

That pure hallucinations occur, we cannot rationally doubt ; 
but what are, and what are not, hallucinations, it may be 
more difficult to determine than superficial observers are wont 
to imagine. 

Hallucination, according to the usual definition, consists of 
ideas and sensations conveying tmreal impressions. It is an 
example of false testimony (not always credited), apparently 
given by the senses in a diseased or abnormal state of the 
human organization. 

*' It is evident," says Calmeil, *' that if the same material 
combination which takes place in the brain of a man at the 
sight of a tree, of a dog, of a horse, is capable of being repro- 
duced at a moment when these objects are no longer within 
sight, then that man will persist in believing that he still 
sees a horse, a dog, or a tree." * 

It is a curious question, not yet fiilly settled by medical 
writers on the subject, whether hallucinations of the sight 

* «* De la PoHe," vol. i. p. 113, 



cause an actual image on the retina. Burdach, Miiller,* 
Baillarger,t and others, who maintain the affirmative, remind 
us that patients jrho have recovered from an attack of hallu- 
cination always say, " I saw ; I heard ;" thus speaking as of 
actual sensations. DechambreJ and De Boismont, who 
assume the negative, adduce in support of their opinion the 
facts that a patient who has lost his leg will still complain of 
cold or pain in the toes of the amputated foot, and that men 
blind from amaurosis, where there is paralysis of the optic 
nerve, are still subject to visual hallucinations. The latter 
seems the better opinion. How can a mere mental concep- 
tion (as Dechambre has argued) produce an image in the 
eye ? And to what purpose P For, if the conception is 
already existing in the brain, what need of the eye to convey 
it thither ? If it could be proved, in any given case, that a 
real image had been produced on the surface of the retina, it 
would, I think, go far to prove, also, that an objective reality 
must have been present to produce it. And so also of sonorous 
undulations actually received by the tympanum. 

This will more clearly appear if we take instances of hallu- 
cination of other senses — as of smell and touch. Professor 
Bennett, of Scotland, in a pamphlet against Mesmerism,§ 
vouches for two examples adduced by him to prove the power 
of imagination. He relates the first as follows : — " A clergy- 
man told me that, some time ago, suspicions were entertained 
in his parish of a woman who was supposed to have poisoned 
her newly-born infant. The coffin was exhumed, and the 
procurator-fiscal, who attended with the medical men to exa- 
mine the body, declared that he already perceived the odour 
of decomposition, which made him feel faint ; and, in conse- 
quence, he withdrew. But on opening the coffin it was found 
to be empty ; and it was afterwards ascertained that no child 
had been bom, and, consequently, no murder committed." 
Are we to suppose that the olfactory nerve was acted upon by 

* I have not access to the German originals ; but both Burdach and 
Miiller have been translated into French by Jourdain ; see Burdach's " Traite 
de Physiologic," Paris, 1839, vol. v. p. 206, and Miiller's "Manuel de 
Physiologic," Paris, 1845, vol. ii. p. 686. 

t Baillargei* ; " Des Hallucinations, etc.," published in the " Mdmoires de 
I'Academie Royale de Medecine," vol. xii. p. 369. 

X Dechambre's "Analyse de I'Ouvrage du Docteur Szafkowski but les 
Hallucinations," published in the " Grazette M^dicale" for 1850, p. 274. 

I am indebted to De Boismont for most of these references. See his work, 
" Des Hallucinations," Paris, 1852, chap. xvi. 
§ « The Mesmeric Mania of 1851," Edinburgh, 1851. 


an odour when the odour was not there P But here is the 
other case, from the same pamphlet. "A butcher was 
brought into the shop of Mr. M'Farlane, the druggist, from 
the market-place opposite, labouring under a terrible acci- 
dent. The man, in trying to hook up a heavy piece of meat 
above his head, slipped, and the sharp hook penetrated his 
arm, so that he himself was suspended. On being examined, 
he was pale, almost pulseless, and expressed himself as suffer- 
ing acute agony. The arm could not be moved without 
causing excessive pain, and in cutting off the sleeve he fre- 
quently cried out ; yet when the arm was exposed it was 
found to be perfectly uninjured, the hook having only tra- 
versed the sleeve of his coat !" What acted, in this case, on 
the nerves of sensation ? There was not the slightest lesion 
to do this ; yet the effect on the brain was exactly the same 
as if these nerves had been actually irritated, and that, too, 
in the most serious manner. 

The senses which most frequently seem to delude us are 
sight and hearing. Dr. Carpenter mentions the case of a 
lady, a near relative of his, who, " having been frightened in 
childhood by a black cat which sprang up from beneath her 
pillow just as she was laying her head upon it, was accus- 
tomed for many years afterwards, whenever she was at all 
indisposed, to see a black cat on the ground before her ; and, 
although perfectly aware of the spectral character of the 
appearance, yet sne could never avoid lifting her foot as if 
to step over the cat when it appeared to be lying in her 
path." * Another lady, mentioned by Calmeil, continued, 
for upwards of ten years, to imagine that a multitude of birds 
were constantly on the wing, flying close to her head ; and 
she never sat down to dinner without setting aside crumbs of 
bread for her visionary attendants.! 

So of auditory hallucinations, where the sense of hearing 
appears to play us false. Writers on the subject record the 
cases of patients who have been pursued for years, or through 
life, by unknown voices, sounds of bells, strains of music, 
hissing, barking, and the like. In many cases the sounds 
seemed, to the hallucinated, to proceed from tombs, from 

* " Principles of Hnman Physiology," 5tli ed., London, 1855, p. 564. 

f Calmeil, vol. i. p. 11. I do not cite more apocryphal cases, as when Pic, 
in his life of the noted Benedictine Savonarola, teUs ns that the Holy Ghost, 
on several occasions, lit on the shoulders of the pions monk, who was lost in 
admiration of its golden plumage ; and that when the divine bird introduced 
its beak into his ear he heard a murmur of a m^ost pecviiiai ^^"e.C5n:^NK<3Vi.. — 
/. F, Pic, m Vita Savona/rolw, p. 124. 


caverns, from beneath the ground ; sometimes the voice was 
imagined to be internal, as from the breast or other portions 
of the body.* Cabneil relates the example of an aged com*- 
tier, who, imagining that he heard rivals continually defaming 
him in presence of his sovereign, used constantly to exclaim, 
" They lie ! you are deceived ! I am calimmiated. my 
princeV't Aid he mentions the case of another monoi^am^ 
who could not, without a fit of rage, hear pronounced the 
name of a town which recalled to him painful recollections. 
CMldren at the breast, the birds of the air, bells from every 
clock-tower, repeated, to his diseased hearing, the detested, 

These all appear to be cases of simple hallucination; 
against which, it may be renmrked, perfect soundness of mind 
is no guarantee. Hallucination is not insanity. It is found, 
sometmies, disconnected not only from insanity, but from 
monomania in its mildest type. I knew well a lady who, 
more than once, distinctly saw feet ascending the stairs before 
her. Yet neither her physician nor she herself ever regarded 
this apparent marvel in other light than as an optical vagary 
dependent on her state of health. 

In each of the cases above cited, it will be remarked that 
one person only was misled by deception of sense. And this 
brings me to speak of an important distinction made by the 
best writers on this subject : the difference, namely, between 
hallucination and illusion : the former being held to mean a 
false perception of that which has no existence whatever; 
the latter, an incorrect perception of something which ac- 
tually exists. The lady who raised her foot to step over a 
black cat, when, in point of fact, there was nothing there to 
step over, is deemed to be the victim of an hallucination. 
Nicolai, the Berlin bookseller, is usually cited as one of the 
most noted cases ; and his memoir on the subject, addressed 
to the Royal Society of Berlin, of which he was- a member, is 
given as a rare example of philosophical and careftd analysis 
of what he himself regarded as a series of false sensations. J 
He imagined (so he relates) that his room was ftJl of human 
figures, moving about; all the exact counterpart of living 

* Calmeil, work cited, vol. i. p. 8. 
t Cahneil, work cited, vol. i. p. 7. 

X Mcolai read his memoir on the subject of the spectres or phantoms 
which disturbed him, with psychological remarks thereon, to the Eoyal 
Society of Berlin, on the 28th of February, 1799. The translation of this 
paper is given in NicholsoTCs JowmaX^ vol. vi. 'p. \^1. 


persons, except that they were somewhat paler ; some known 
to him, some strangers ; who occasionally spoke to each other 
and to him ; so that at times he was in doubt whether or not 
some of liis friends had come to visit him. 

An illusion, unlike an hallucination, has a foundation in 
reality. We actually see or hear something, which we mis- 
take for something else.* The mirage of the Desert, the 
Fata Morgana of the Mediterranean, are well-known exam- 
ples. Many superstitions hence take their rise. Witness 
the Giant of the Brocken, aerial armies contending in the 
clouds, and the like.f 

There are collective illusions ; for it is evident that the 
same false appearance which deceives the senses of one man is 
not unlikely to deceive those of others also. Thus, an Italian 
historian relates that the inhabitants of the city of Florence 
were for several hours the dupes of a remarkable deception. 
There was seen, in the air, floating above the city, the colossal 
figure of an angel ; and groups of spectators, gathered toge- 
ther in the principal streets, gazed in adoration, convinced 
that some miracle was about to take place. After a time it 
was discovered that this portentous appearance was but a 
simple optical illusion, caused by the reflection, on a cloud, of 
the figure of the gilded angel which surmounts the celebrated 
Duomo, brightly illuminated by the rays of the sun. 

* In actual mania, hallucinations are commonly set down as much more 
firequent than iUnsions. De Boismont mentions that, out of one hundred 
and eighty-one cases of mania observed by Messrs. Aubanel and There, 
illusions showed themselves in sixteen instances, while hallucination super- 
vened in fifty-four. The exact list was as follows ': Illusions of sight, nine j 
of hearing, seven ; hallucmaUons of hesuring, twenty-three ; of sight, twenty- 
one ; of taste, five ; of touch, two ; of smell, one j internal, two. — Des 
Halhicmations, p. 168. 

t In the " Philosophical Magazine'* (vol. i. p. 232) will be found a record 
of the observations which finally explained to the scientific world the nature 
of the gigantic appearance which, from the summit of the Brocken, (one of 
the Hartz Mountains,) for long years excited the wondering credulity of the 
inhabitants and the astonishment of the passing traveller. A Mr. Haue 
devoted some time to this subject. One day, while he was contemplating 
the giant, a violent puflf of wind was on the point of carrying off his hat. 
Suddenly clapping his hand upon it, the giant did the same. Mr. Haue 
bowed to him, and the salute was returned. He then called the proprietor 
of the neighbouring inn and imparted to hinri his discovery. The experi- 
ments were renewed with the same effect. It became evident that the 
appearance was but an optical effect produced by a strongly illuminated 
body placed amid light clouds, reflected from a considerable distance, and 
magnified till it appeared five or six hundred feet in height. 

In Westmorelaiid and other mountainous countries the peasants often 
imagine that they see in the clouds troops of cavalry and armies on the 
march — when, in point of fact, it is but the reftection oi VoT^e^^ ^^j&\?o:f«k% <sa 
a Mil-side, and peaceful travellers or labourers paB&ing o^est VJaa^aja-^^^iw^* 


But I know of no well-authenticated instance of collective 
hallucinations. No two patients that I ever heard of imagined 
the presence of the same cat or dog at the same moment. 
None of Nicolai's friends perceived the figures which showed 
themselves to him. When Brutus's evil genius appeared to 
the Roman leader, no one but himself saw the coiossal pre- 
sence or heard the warning words, " We shall meet again at 
Philippi." It was Nero's eyes alone that were hauntoi with 
the spectre of his murdered mother.* 

This is a distinction of much practical importance. If two 
persons perceive at the same time the same phenomenon, we 
may conclude that that phenomenon is an objective reality — 
has, in some phase or other, actual existence. 

The results of what have been usually called electro-biolo- 
gical experiments cannot with any propriety be adduced in 
confutation of this position. The biologized patient know- 
ingly and voluntarily subjects himself to an artificial influence, 
of which the temporary effect is to produce false sensations ; 
just as the eater of hasheesh, or the chewer of opium, conjures 
up the phantasmagoria of a partial insanity, or the confirmed 
drunkard exposes himself to the terrible delusions of delirium- 
tremens. But all these sufferers know, when the fit has 
passed, that there was nothing of reality in the imaginations 
that overcame them. 

If we could be biologized without ostensible agency, in a 
seemingly normal and quiet state of mind and body, uncon- 
sciously to ourselves at the time, and without any subsequent 
conviction of our trance-like condition, then would Reason 
herself cease to be trustworthy, our very senses become blind 
guides, and men would but grope about in the mists of Pyrr- 
honism. Nothing in the economy of the universe, so far as 
wa have explored it, allows us for a moment to entertain the 
idea that its Creator has permitted, or will ever permit, such 
a source of delusion. 

We are justified in asserting, then, as a general rule, that 
what the senses of two or more persons perceive at the same 
time is not an hallucination; in other words, that there is 
some foundation for it. 

But it does not follow that the converse of the proposition 
is true. It is not logical to conclude that, in every instance 

* There is no proof that the appearances which presented themselves to 

Nicolai, to Brutus, and to Nero were other than mere hallucinations j yet, 

if it should appear that apparitions, whether of the living or the dead, are 

sometimes of objective character, we qixq oiasuxning too much when we 

receive it as certain that nothii^ appeared to eit\i©t oil VJaejea Tasja.. 


reichenbach's experiments. 225 

in which some strange appearance can be perceived by one 
observer only among many, it is an hallucination. In some 
cases where certain persons perceive phenomena which escape 
the senses of others, it is certain that the phenomena are, or 
may be, real. An every-day example of this is the fact that 
persons endowed with strong power of distant vision clearly 
distinguish objects which are invisible to the short-sighted. 
Again, Reichenbach reports that his sensitives saw, at the 
poles of the magnet, odic light, and felt, from the near con- 
tact of large free crystals, odic sensations, which by Reichen- 
bach himself, and others as insensible to odic impressions as 
he, were utterly unperceived.* It is true that before such 
experiments can rationaUy produce conviction they must be 
repeated again and again, by various observers and with 
numerous subjects, each subject unknowing the testimony of 
the preceding, and the result of these various experiments 
must be careraUy collated and compared. But, these precau- 
tions scrupulously taken, there is nothing in the nature of the 
experiments themselves which should cause them to be set 
aside as imtrustworthy. 

There is nothing, then, absurd or illogical in the supposi- 
tion that some persons may have true perceptions of which we 
are unconscious. We may not be able to comprehend how 
they receive these ; but our ignorance of the mode of* action 
does not disprove the reality of the effect. I knew an English 
gentleman who, if a cat had been secreted in a room where he 
was, invariably and infallibly detected her presence. How he 
perceived this, except by a general feeling of uneasiness, he 
could never explain ; yet the fact was certain. 

If we were all bom deaf and dumb, we could not imagine 
how a human being should be able to perceive that a person 
he did not see was in an adjoining room, or how he could pos- 
sibly become conscious that a town-clock, a mile off and wholly 
out of sight, was half an hour faster than the watch iu his 
pocket. If to a deaf mute, congenitaUy such, we say, in ex- 
planation, that we know th^se things because we hear the 
sound of the person's voice and of the clock striking, the 
words are to him without significance. They explain to him 

* Beichenbach, (in his " Sensitive Mensch," vol. i. p. 1), estimates the 
number of sensitives, including aU who have any perception whatever of 
odic sights and feelings, at nearly one-half the human race. Cases of high 
sensitiveness are, he says, most commonly found in the diseased ; some- 
timies, however, in the healthy. In both he considers them comparatively 



nothing. He believes that there is a perception which those 
around him call hearing, because they all agree in informing 
hiTTi of this. He believes that, under particiiLar circumstances, 
they do become conscious of the distant and the unseen. But, 
if his infirmity continue till death, he will pass to another 
world with no conviction of the reality of hearing save that 
belief alone, unsustained except by the evidence of testimony. 

What presumption is there against the supposition that, as 
there are exceptional cases, in which some of our fellow-crea- 
tures are inferior to us in the range of their perceptions, there 
may be exceptional cases also in which some of them are 
superior P , And why may not we, like the life-long deaf 
mute, have to await the eidightenment of death before we can 
receive as true, except by faith in others' words, the allega- 
tions touching these superior perceptions ? 

There is, it is true, between the case of the deaf mute and 
ours this difference : he is in the minority, we in the majority : 
his witnesses, therefore, are much more numerous than ours. 
But the question remains, are our witnesses, occasional only 
though they be, sufficient in number and in credibility ? 

That question, so far as it regards what are commonly 
called apparitions, it is my object in the next chapter to 

Before doing so, however, one or two remarks touching 
current objections may here be in place. 

It has usually been taken for granted that, if medicine shall 
have removed a perception, it was unreal. This does not 
follow. An actual perception may, for ought we know, 
depend on a peculiar state of the nervous system, and may be 
possible during that state only ; and that state may be 
changed or modified by drugs. Our senses frequently are, 
for a time, so influenced ; the sense of sight, for example, by 
belladonna. I found in England several ladies, all in the 
most respectable class of society, who have had, to a greater 
or less extent, the perception of apparitions ; though they do 
not speak of this faculty or delusion (let the reader select 
either term) beyond the circle of their immediate friends. 
One of these ladies, in whose case the perception had existed 
from early infancy, informed me that it was suspended by in- 
disposition, even by a severe cold. In this case, any medicine 
which removed the disease restored the perception. 

Somo writers have attempted to show that hallucination is 

epidemical, like the plague or the small-pox. If this be true 

at all, it is to- an extent so txifling and under circumstances 

DE gasparin's observations. 227 

so peculiar, that it can only be regarded as a rare exception to 
a general rule.* De Gasparin seeks to prove the contrary 
of thisf hy reminding us that in Egypt, in the time of Jus- 
tinian, aU. the world is said to have seen black men without 
heads sailing in brazen barks ; that during an epidemic that 
once depopulated Constantinople the inhabitants saw demons 
passing along the streets from house to house, dealing death 
as they passed ; that Thucydides speaks of a general invasion 
of spectres which accompanied the great plague at Athens ; 
that Pliny relates how, during the war of the Komans against 
the Cimbrians, the clash of arms and the sound of trumpets 
were heard, as if coming from the sky ; that Pausanias writes 
that, long after the action at Marathon, there were heard each 
night, on the field of battle, the neighing of horses and the 
shock of armies ; that at the battle of Plataea the heavens re- 
sounded with fearful cries, ascribed by the Athenians to the 
god Pan ; and so on. 

Of these appearances some were clearly illusions, not hal- 
lucinations ; and as to the rest, M. de Gasparin is too sensible 
a writer not to admit that " many of these anecdotes are false, 
and many are exaggerated." J For myself, it would be almost 
as easy to convince me, on the faith of a remote legend, that 
these marvellous sights and sounds had actually existed, as 
that large numbers of men concurred in the conviction that 
they saw and heard them. The very details which accompany 

* I find in De Boismont's elaborate work on Hallucinations but a single 
example detailed of what may be regarded as a collective hallucination, 
and that given (p. 72) on the authority of Bovet, and taken from his 
" Pandemonium, or The Devil's Cloyster," published in 1684 (p. 202) ; not 
the most conclusive evidence, certainly. It is, besides, but the case of two 
men alleged to have seen, at the same time, the same apparition of certain 
richly-dressed ladies. But one of these men was at the time in a stupor, 
apparently suffeiing from nightmare, and did not speak of the vision at all 
until it was suggested to him by the other. We know, however, that sug- 
gestions made to a sleeping man sometimes influence his dreams. (See 
Abercrombie's " Intellectual Powers," 15th ed., London, 1857, pp. 202, 203.) 
A case cited and vouched for by Dr. Wigan (" Duality of the Mind," London, 
1844, pp. 166 et seq.) does not prove that hallucination may be of a collec- 
tive character, though sometimes adduced to prove it. 

Writers who believe in second- sight (as Martin, in his " Description of 
the Western Islands of Scotland") allege that if two men, gifted with that 
faculty, be standing together, and if one of them, perceiving a vision, design- 
edly touch the other, he also will perceive it. But we have no better evi- 
dence for this than for the reality of the faculty in question. And if 
second-sight be a real phenomenon, then such seers are not deceived by a 

t " Des Tables Toumantes, du Sumaturel en General, et des Esprits," par 
le Comte Ag^nor de (Jasparin, Paris, 1855, vol. i. pp. 537 et seq. 

X De Grasparin's work already dted, vol. i. p. 5d^. 

228 DE boismont's observations. 

many of them suffice to discredit the idea they are adduced to 
prove. In the relation of Pausanias, for example, touching 
the nightly noises on the battle-field of Marathon, we read 
that those who were attracted to the spot by curiosity heard 
them not ; it was to the chance traveller only, crossing the 
haunted spot without premeditation, that the phantom horses 
neighed and the din of arms resounded. Imagination or ex- 
pectation, it would seem, had nothing to do with it. It was 
a local phenomenon. Can we believe it to have been a per- 
version of the sense of hearing? If we do, we admit that 
hallucination may be endemic as well as epidemic. 

I would not be understood as denying that there have been 
times and seasons during which instances of hallucination 
have increased in frequency beyond the usual rate. That 
which violently excites the mind often reacts morbidly on the 
senses. But this does not prove the position I am combating. 
The reaction consequent upon the failure of the first Frendi 
Revolution, together with the horrors of the reign of terror, 
so agitated and depressed the minds of many, that in France' 
suicides became frequent beyond all previous example. Yet 
it would be a novel doctrine to assert that suicide is of a con- 
tagious or epidemical character. 

De Boismont reminds us that considerable assemblages of 
men (" des reunions, considerables") have been the dupes of 
the same illusions. " A cry," he says, *' suffices to affiight a 
multitude. An individual who thinks he sees something 
supernatural soon causes others, as little enlightened as he, to 
share his conviction."* As to illusions, both optical and oral, 
this is undoubtedly true ; more especially when these present 
themselves in times of excitement — ras during a battle or a 
plague — or when they are generated in twilight gloom or mid- 
night darkness. But that the contagion of example, or the 
belief of one individual under the actual influence of halluci- 
nation, suffices to produce^ in others around, disease of the 
retina, or of the optic, or auditory nerve, or, in short, any 
abnormal condition of the senses, is a supposition which, so 
far as my reading extends, is unsupported by any reliable 
proof whatever. 

The hypothesis of hallucination, then, is, in a general way,, 
untenable in cases where two or more independent observers 
perceive the same or a similar appearance. But, since we 
know that hallucination does occur, that hypothesis may, in 

* "Dea HaHuoinationa;' p. 128. 


cases where there is but a single observer, be regarded as the 
more natural one, to be rebutted only by such attendant cir- 
cumstances as are not explicable except by supposing the ap- 
pearance real. 

Bearing with us these considerations, let us now endeavour 
to separate, in this matter, the fanciftd from the real. In so 
doing, we may find it difficult to preserve the just mean be- 
tween too ready admission and too strenuous unbelief. If the 
reader be tempted to suspect in me easy credulity, let him 
beware on his part of arrogant pre-judgment. " Contempt 
before inquiry," says Paley, "is fatal." Discarding aKke 
prejudice and superstition, adopting the inductive method, let 
us seek to determine whether, even u a large portion of the thou- 
sand legends of ghosts aad apparitions that have won credence 
in every age be due to hallucination, there be not another 
portion — the records of genuine phenomena -^observed by 
credible witnesses and attested by sufficient proof. 



"When, in studying the subject of apparitions, I first met an 
alleged example of the appearance of a living person at a 
distance from where that person actually was, I gave to it 
little weight. And this the rather because the example itseK 
was not sufficiently attested. It is related and believed by 
Jung StUling as having occurred about the years 1750 to 
1760, and is to this effect. 

There lived at that time, near Philadelphia, in a lonely 
house and in a retired manner, a man of benevolent and pious 
character, but suspected to have some occult power of dis- 
closiQg hidden events. It happened that a certain sea-captain 
having been long absent and no letter received from him, his 
wife, who lived near this man, and who had become alarmed 
and anxious, was advised to consult him. Having heard her 
story, he bade her wait a little and he would bring her an 
answer. Thereupon he went into another room, shutting the 
door ; and there he stayed so long that, moved by curiosity, 
she looked through an aperture ia the door to ascertain what 
he was about. Seeing him lying motionless on a sofa, she 
quickly returned to her place. Soon after, he came out, and 
told the woman that her husband was at that time in London, 
in a certaia coffee-house which he named, and that he would 
soon return. He also stated the reasons why his return had 
been delayed, and why he had not written to her ; and she 
went home somewhat reassured. When her husband did re- 
turn, they found, on comparing notes, that everything she 
had been told was exactly true. But the strangest part of 
the story remains. When she took her husband to see the 
alleged seer, he started back in surprise, and afterwards con- 
fessed to his wife that, on a certain day, (the same on which 
she had considted the person in question,) he was in a coffee- 
house in London, (the same that had been named to her,) and 
that this very man had there accosted him, and had told him 
that his wife was in great anxiety about him ; that then the 
sea-captain had replied, informing the stranger why his re- 

stilling's story. 231 

turn was delayed and why lie had not written, whereupon 
the man turned away, and he lost sight of him in the crowd.* 

This story, however, came to Stilling through several 
hands, and is very loosely authenticated. It was brought 
from America by a German who had emigrated to the United 
States, and had been many years manager of some mills on 
the Delaware. He related it, on his return to Germany, to 
a friend of Stilling's, from whom Stilling had it. But no 
names nor exact dates are given ; and it is not even stated 
whether the German emigrant obtained the incident directly 
either from the sea-captain or his wife. 

It is evident that such a narrative, coming to us with no 
better vouchers than these, (though we may admit StiOing's 
entire good faith,) cannot rationally be accepted as authority. 

Yet it is to be remarked that, in its incidents, the above 
story is but little more remarkable than the Joseph Wilkins 
dream or the case of Mary Goflfe, both already given in the 
chapter on Dreams. If true, it evidently belongs to the 
same class, with this variation : that the phenomena in the 
two cases referred to occurred spontaneously, whereas, accord- 
ing to the Stilling narrative, tney were called up by the will 
of the subject and could be reproduced at pleasure. 

The next narrative I am enabled to give as perfectly 


There was living, in the summer of the year 1802, in the 
south of Ireland, a clergyman of the Established Church, the 

Rev. Mr. , afterwards Archdeacon of , now deceased. 

His first wife, a woman of great beauty, sister of the Governor 

of , was then alive. She had been recently confined, 

and her recovery was very slow. Their residence — ^an old- 
fashioned mansion, situated in a spacious garden — adjoined 

on one side the park of the Bishop of . It was separated 

from it by a wall, in which there was a private door. 

Mr. had been invited by the bishop to dinner ; and as 

his wife, though confined to bed, did not seem worse than 
usual, he had accepted the invitation. Returning from the 
bishop's palace about ten o'clock, he entered, by the private 
door already mentioned, his own premises. It was bright 
moonlight. On issuing from a small belt of shrubbery into 

* «* Theorie der Geisterkunde," vol. iv. of Stilling's " Sammtliche Werke," 
pp. 501 to 503. I haye somewhat abridged in translating it. 

232 THE son's testimony. 

a garden- walk, lie perceived, as he thought, in another walk, 
parallel to that in which he was, and not more than ten or 
twelve feet from him, the figure of his wife, in her usual 
dress. Exceedingly astonished, he crossed over and con- 
fronted her. It iDas his wife. At least, he distinguished her 
features, in the clear moonlight, as plainly as he had ever 
done in his life. " What are you doing here P" he asked. 
She did not reply, but receded from him, turning to the 
right, towards a kitchen-garden that lay on one side of the 
house. In it there were several rows of peas, staked and well 

frown, so as to shelter any person passing behind them. The 
gure passed roimd one end of these. Mr. followed 

quickly, in increased astonishment, mingled with alarm, but 
when he reached the open space beyond the peas the figure 
was nowhere to be seen. As there was no spot where, in so 
short a time, it could have sought concealment, the husband 
concluded that it was an apparition, and not his wife, that he 
had seen. He returned to the front door, and, instead of 
availing himself of his pass-key as usual, he rang the beU. 
While on the steps, before the bell was answered, looking 
round, he saw the same figure at the comer of the house. 
When the servant opened the door, he asked him how his 
mistress was. " I am sorry to say, sir," answered the man, 

" she is not so well. Dr. Osborne has been sent for." Mr. 

hurried up-stairs, found his wife in bed and much worse,^ at- 
tended by the nurse, who had not left her all the evening. 
From that time she gradually sank, and within twelve hours 
thereafter expired. 

The above was communicated to me by Mr. , now of 

Canada, son of the archdeacon.* He had so often heard his 
father narrate the incident that every particular was minutely 
imprinted on his memory. I inquired of him if his father 
had ever stated to him whether, during his absence at the 
bishop's, his wife had slept, or had been observed to be in a 
state of swoon or trance ; but he could afford me no informa- 
tion on that subject. It is to be regretted that this had not 
been observed and recorded. The wife knew where her 
husband was and by what route he would return. We may 
imagine, but cannot prove, that this was a case similar to that 
of Mary Goffe, — ^the appearance of the wife, as of the mother, 
showing itself where her thoughts and affections were. 

* On the 1st of June, 1859. 


The following narrative I owe to the kindness of a friend, 

Mrs. D , now of Washington, the daughter of a Western 

clergyman of well-known reputation, recently deceased. 



" I resided for several years in a spacious old stone house, 
two stories high, agreeably situated, amid fruit-trees and 
shrubbery, on the banks of the Ohio River, in Switzerland 
County, Indiana. Two verandahs, above and below, with 
outside stairs leading up to them, ran the entire length of the 
house on the side next the river. These, especially the imper 
one with its charming prospect, were a common resort oi the 

"On the 15th of September, 1845, my younger sister, 

J , was married, and came with her husband, Mr. H 

M , to pass a portion of the honey-moon in our pleasant 


" On the 18th of the same month, we all went, by invitation, 
to spend the day at a friend's house about a mile distant. As 
twilight came on, finding my two little ones growing restless, 
we decided to return home. After waiting some time for my 
sister's husband, who had gone off to pay a visit in a neigh- 
bouring village, saying he would soon return, we set out 
without him. Arrived at home, my sister, who occupied an 
upper room, telling me she would go and change her walking- 
dress, proceeded up -stairs, while I remained below to see my 
drowsy babes safe in bed. The moon, I remember, was 
shining brightly at the time. 

^^ Suddenly, after a minute or two, my sister burst into the 
room, wringing her hands in despair, and weeping bitterly. 
'Oh, sister, sister ! ' she exclaimed; ' I shall lose him ! I know 
I shall I Hugh is going to die.' In the greatest astonish- 
ment, I inquired what was the matter ; and then, between 
sobs, she related to me the cause of her alarm, as follows : — 

" As she ran up-stairs to their room she saw her husband 
seated at the extremity of the upper verandah, his hat on, a 
cigar in his mouth, and his feet on the railing, apparently 
enjoying the cool river breeze. Supposing, of course, that he 
had returned before we did, she approached him, saying, 
* Why, Hugh, when did you get here ? Why did you not 
return and come home with us P ' As he made no reply, she 
went up to him, and, bride-Kke, was about to put her arms 
'.round his neck, when, to her horror, the figvore ^e^a ^oTia «x:^^ 

234 SILAS. 

the chair empty. She had barely strength left (so great was 
the shock) to come down-stairs and relate to me what her 
excited fears construed into a certain presage of death. 

" It was not till more than two hours afterwards, when my 
brother-in-law actually returned, that she resumed her tran- 
quillity. We rallied and laughed at her then, and, after a 
time, the incident passed from our minds. 

"Previously to this, however, — ^namely, about an hour 
before Hugh's return, — ^while we were sitting in the parlour, 
on the lower floor, I saw a boy, some sixteen years of age, 
look in at the door of the room. It was a lad whom my 
husband employed to work in the garden and about the house, 
and who, in his leisure hours, usqd to take great delight in 
amusing my little son Frank, of whom he was very fond. He 
was dressed, as was his wont, in a suit of blue summer-cloth, 
with an old palm-leaf hat without a band, and he advanced in 
his usual bashful way, a step or two into the room, then 
stopped, and looked round, apparently in search of something. 
Supposing that he was looking for the children, I said to him, 
* Frank is in bed, SUas, and asleep long ago.' He did not 
reply, but, turning with a quiet smile that was conunon to 
him, left the room, and I noticed, from the window, that he 
lingered near the outside door, walking backwards and forwards 
before it once or twice. If I had afterwards been required to 
depose on oath, before. a court of justice, that I had seen the 
boy enter and leave the room, and also that I had noticed him 
pass and repass before the parlour window, I should have 
sworn to these circumstances without a moment's hesitation. 
Yet it would seem that such a deposition would have conveyed 
a false impression. 

" For, shortly after, my husband, coming in, said, * I wonder 
where SUas is P' (that was the boy's name) . 

" * He must be somewhere about,' I replied : ^he was here 
a few minutes since, and I spoke to him.' Thereupon 

Mr. D went out and called him, but no one answered. 

He sought him all over the premises, then in his room, but 
in vain. No SUas was to be foimd ; nor did he show himself 
that night ; nor was he in the house the next morning when 
we arose. 

"At breakfast he first made his appearance. * Where 
have you been, Silas ?' said Mr. D . 

" The boy replied that he had been * up to the island,] 

" ^But/ I said, * you were here last night.' 


" ' Oh, no/ he. replied, with the simple accent of truth. 

^ Mr. D gave me leave to go fishing yesterday ; and I 

understood I need not return till this morning : so I stayed 
away all night. I have not been near here since yesterday 

" I could not doubt the lad's word. He had no motive for 
deceiving us. The island of which he spoke wa« two miles 
distant from our house ; and, imder all the circumstances, I 
settled down to the conclufiion that, as in my sister's case, 
her husband had appeared where he was not, so in the case of 
the boy also, it was the appearance only, not the real person, 
that I had seen that evening. It wa^ remarkable enough that 
both the incidents should have occurred in the same house 
and on the same day. 

" It is proper I should add that my sister's impression that 
the apparition of her husband foreboded death did not prove 
true. He outlived her ; and no misfortune which they could 
in any way connect with the appearance happened in the 

" !Nor did Silas die ; nor, so far as I know, did anything 
unusual happen to him."* 

This case is, in some respects, a strong one. There was 
evidently no connection between the appearance to the one 
sister and that to the other. There was no excitement pre- 
ceding the apparitions. In each case, the evidence, so far 
: as one sense went, was as strong as if the real person had 
been present. The narrator expressly says she would im- 
. hesitatingly have sworn, in a court of justice, to the presence 
" of the boy Silas. The sister addressed the appearance of her 
husband, imexpected as it was, without doubt or hesitation. 
The theory of hallucination may accoimt for both cases ; but, 
whether it does or not, the phenomenon is one which ought 
V-to challenge the attention of the jurist as well as of the 
^ psychologist. If appearances so exactly counterfeiting reality 
\ as these can, occasionally, cheat human sense, their possible 

• occurrence ought not to be ignored in laying down rules of 
-: evidence. The presumption, of course, is, in every case, very 

strongly against them. Yet cases have occurred in which an 

• alibiy satisfactorily proved, yet conflicting with seemingly 
imimpeachable evidence, has completely puzzled the courts. 

• An example, related and vouched for by Mrs. Crowe, but 

* Communicated to me, in Washington, Jime ^4,\^^. 

236 THE surgeon's assistant. 

without adducing her authority, and which I have not my- 
self verified, is, in substance, as follows : — 

In the latter part of the last century, in the city of Glas- 
gow, Scotland, a servant-girl, known to have had illicit 
connexion with a certain surgeon's apprentice, suddenly 
disappeared. There being no circumstances leading to sus- 
picion of foul play, no special inquiry was made about her. 

In those days, in Scottish towns, no one was allowed to 
show himself in street or public -ground during the hours of 
church service; and this interdiction was enforced by the 
appointment of inspectors authorized to take down the names 
of delinquents. 

Two of these, making their roimds, came to a wall, the 
lower boundaiy of " The Green," as the chief public park of 
the city is called. There, lying on the grass, they saw a 
young man, whom they recognised as the surgeon's assistant. 
They asked him why he was not at church, and proceeded to 
register his name ; but, instead of attempting an excuse, he 
merely rose, saying, " I am a miserable man ; look in 4he 
water !" then crossed a style and struck into a path leading 
to the Rutherglen road. The inspectors, astonished, did 
proceed to the river, where they foimd the body of a young 
woman, which they caused to be conveyed to town. While 
they were accompanying it through the streets, they passed 
one of the principal churches, whence, at the moment, the 
congregation were issuing ; and among them they perceived 
the apprentice. But this did not much surprise them, think- 
ing he might have had time to go roimd and enter the church 
towards the close of the service. 

The body proved to be that of the missing servant-girl. 
She was found pregnant, and had evidently been murdered by 
means of a surgeon's instrument, which had remained entangled 
in her clothes. The apprentice, who proved to have been the 
last person seeii in her company before she disappeared, was 
arrested, and would, on the evidence of the inspectors, have 
been found guilty, had he not, on his trial, established an 
incontrovertible alibi ; showing, beyond possible doubt, that he 
had been in church during the entire service. The young 
man was acquitted. The greatest excitement prevailed in the 
public mind at the time ; but all efibrts to obtain a natural 
explanation failed.* 

* "Night Side of Nature," by Catherine Crowe, 16th ed., London, 1854^ 
pp. 183 to 186. 


If tliis story can be trusted, it is conclusive of the question. 

' Both inspectors saw, or beKeved they saw, the same person ; 

a person of whom they were not in search and whom they 

^ did not expect to find there. Both heard the same words ; 

^ and these words directed them to the river, and were the 

*" cause of their finding the dead body ; the body, too, of a girl 

^ with whom the apprentice had been on the most intimate and 

. suspicious terms, whether he was her murderer or not. When 

I did hallucination lead to such a discovery as that P 


In the next case, if it be one of hallucination, two senses 
^ were deceived. 


^ During the winter of 1839-40, Dr. J-= E was 

w residing, with his aunt, Mrs. L , in a house on Fourteenth 

k: Street, near New York Avenue, in the city of Washington. 
£- Ascending one day from the basement of the house to the 
, i parlour, he saw his aimt descending the stairs. He stepped 

li baiik to let her pass, which she did, close to him, but without 
fie speaking. He instantly ascended the stairs and entered the 

d parlour, where he found his aimt sitting quietly by the side 
s!j of the fire. 

t The distance from where he first saw the figure to the spot 
^ where his aimt was actually sitting was between thirty and 

t' forty feet. The figure seemed dressed exactly as his aimt 
iv was, and he distinctly heard the rustle of her dress as she 
iai; passed. 
at As the figure, when descending the stairs, and passing Dr. 

I E , bore the very same appearance as a real person, and 

gi as the circumstance occurred in broad daylight. Dr. E 

i if long thought that, if not a mere hallucination, it might augur 
sJ death ; but nothing happened to justify his anticipations.* 

iTJ; The next example is of a much more conclusive character 
tff than any of the foregoing, if we except the narrative of Mrs. 
i Crowe. 


°S Seen by Mother and Daughter. 

jjj In the month of May, and in the year 1840, Dr. D , a 

noted physician of Washington, was residing with his wife 

"^ ♦ The above was related to me by Dr. E himself, in Washington, on 

S4 the 5th of July, 1859 j and the MS, was submitted to him ioT TQN\aaoii. 




and his daughter Sarah (now Mrs. B ) at their country- 
seat near Piney Point, in Virginia, a fashionable pleasure- 
resort during the summer niDnths. 

One afternoon, about five o'clock, the two ladies were walk- 
ing out in a copse- wood not far from their residence ; when, 
at a distance on the road, coining towards them, they saw a 

gentleman. "SaUv/' said Mrs. D , "there comes your 

fether to meet us. " I think not," the daughter replied : 
" that cannot be papa : it is not so tall as he." 

As he neared them, the daudbter's opinion was confirmed. 
They perceived that it was not Dr. D , but a Mr. Thomp- 
son, a gentleman with whom they were well acquainted, and 
who was at that time, though they then knew it not, a patient 

of Dr. D 's. .They observed also, as he came nearer, that 

he was dressed in a blue frock-coat, black satin waistcoat, and 
black pantaloons and hat. Also, on comparing notes after- 
wards, both ladies, it appeared, had noticed that his linen was 
particularly fine, and that his whole apparel seemed to have 
been very carefully adjusted. Ij. 

He came up so close that they were on the very poiniTof ' 
addressing hmi ; but at that moment he stepped aside, i 
as if to let them pass; and then, even while the eyes of }^ 
both the ladies were upon him, he suddenly and entirely 

The astonishment of Mrs. D and her daughter may be 

imagined. They could scarcely believe the evidence of their 
own eyes. They lingered, for a time, on the spot, as if ex- 
pecting to see him re-appear ; then, with that strange feeling 
which comes over us when we have just witnessed something 
unexampled and incredible, they hastened home. 

They afterwards ascertained, through Dr. D , that his 

patient Mr. Thompson, being seriously indisposed, was con- 
fined to his bed ; and that he had not quitted his room^ 'nor 
indeed his bed, throughout the entire day. 

It may properly be added, that, though Mr. Thompson was 
familiarly known to the ladies, and much respected by them 
as an estimable man, there were no reasons existing why they 
should take any more interest in him, or he in them, than, in 
the case of any other friend or acquaintance. He died just 
six weeks from the day of this appearance. Fj 

The above narrative is of imquestionable authenticity. It 
was communicated in Washington in June, 1859, by Mrs. 

D herself ; and the manuscript, being- submitted to her 

for revision, was assented to as accurate. It had been fre- 





quently related, both by mother and daughter, to the lady — 
^ a Mend of theirs — ^who first brought it to my notice. 

What shall we say to it P What element of authenticity 
does it lack P The facts are of comparatively recent occur- 
rence. They are reported directly by the observers of the 
phenomenon. The circumstances preclude even the hypothe- 
sis of suggestion. The mother's remark to the daughter was, 
" There comes your father." The daughter dissents, remark- 
ing that it was a shorter man. When the appearance ap- 
proaches, both ladies distinguish the same person, and that so 
unmistakably that they advance to meet him and speak to 
him, without the least mistrust. It was evidently an appear- 
ance seen independently by both the observers. 

It was seen, too, in broad daylight, and imder no excite- 
ment whatever. The ladies were enjoying a quiet afternoon's 
walk. There was no terror to blind, no anxiety of affection 
to conjure up (as scepticism might imagine it can) the phan- 
tom of the absent. The incident is (as they suppose) of the 
most commonplace character. The gentleman whom they see 

i advancing to meet them is an ordinary acquaintance — ^dl at 

I the time, it is true ; but even that fact is unknown to them. 

\ They both continue to see him imtil he is within speaking 
distance. Both observe his dress, even the minute particulars 

^ of it ; so that t)n the senses of both precisely the same series 
of impressions is produced. They ascertain this by a subse- 
quent comparison of their sensations. 

• Nor do they lose sight of him in any doubtftd way, or while 
? ^ their attention is distracted. He disappears before their eyes 

' at the very moment they are about to address him. 

- How strong in this case is the presumptive evidence against 

* hallucination ! Even setting aside the received doctrine of 
' the books, that there is no collective hallucination, how can 

we imagine that there should be produced, at the very same 
^i moment, without suggestion, or expectation, or imusual ex- 
^. citement of any kind, on the brain of two different persons, 
ef a perception of the self-same image, minutely detailed, with- 

- out any external object to produce it ? Was that image im- 
J^ printed on the retina in the case both of mother and daughter ? 

How could this be if there was nothing existing in the outside 
1 world to imprint it ? Or was there no image on the retina P 
i* Was it a purely subjective impression ? — ^was it a false per- 
^. ception, due .to disease P But among the millions of impres- 
I*" dons which may be produced, if imaginatiou ot^-^ \& ^^ 


creative agent, how infinite the probabilities against the con- 
tingency tnat, out of these millions, this one especial object 
should present itself in two independent cases ! — ^not only a 
particular person, dressed in a particular manner, but that 
person advancing along a road, approaching within a few 
steps of the observers, and then disappearing ! Yet even this 
is not the limit of the adverse chances. There is not only 
identity of object, but exact coincidence of time. The two 
perceive the very same thing at the very same moment ; and 
this coincidence continues throughout several minutes. 

What is the natural and necessary conclusion ? That there 
was an image produced on the retina, and that there was an 
objective reality there to produce it. 

It may seem marvellous, it may appear hard to believe, 
that the appearance of a human being, in his usual dress, 
should present itself where that human being is not. It 
would be a thing a thousand times more marvellous, ten thou- 
sand times harder to believe, that the fortuitous action of 
disease, freely ranging throughout the infinite variety of con- 
tingent possibilities, should produce, by mere chance, a mass 
of coincidences such as make up, in this case, the concurrent 
and cotemporaneous sensations of mother and daughter- 

I might here adduce an example which several writers have 
noticed ; that, namely, of the apparition to Dr. Donne, in 
Paris, of his wife, with her hair hanging loose and a dead 
child in her arms, on the very day and at the very hour that 
she was delivered of a still-born child at Drewry House, the 
residence of Dr. Donne's patron. Sir Robert Drewry, then 
ambassador at the French Court. It is related and vouched 
for by " honest Izaak," as his friends used to call the author 
of ** The Compleat Angler ;"* but it is two hundred and fifty 
years old. Therefore I prefer to pass on to the following, of 
modem date and direct authentication : — 


During the autumn of 1857, Mr. Daniel M , a yoimg 

American gentleman, after having travelled throughout Ger- 
many, was returning to the United States in a Bremen 

One tempestuous evening his mother, Mrs. A M , 

residing near New York, knowing that her son was probably 

* " The Lives of Dr. John Donne, Sir Henry VTotton, etc." B7 Isaac 
Walton, Oxford edition, 1824, pp. 16 to 19. 


then at sea, became mucli alarmed for his safety, and put 
up in secret an earnest prayer that he might be preserved to 
^ There was residing in the same house with her, at that 
time, one of her nieces, named Louisa, who was in the habit 
of receiving impressions of what might be called a clairvoyant 
character. This niece had heard the expression of her aimt's 
fears, but, like the rest of the family, she was ignorant that 
these fears had found expression in prayer for her cousin's 
safety. The day after the tempest, she had an impression so 
vivid and distinct that she was induced to record it in writing. 
It was to the effect that her aimt had no cause to fear, seeing 
that the object of her anxiety was in safety, and that at the 
very hour of the previous evening when the mother had so 
earnestly put up a secret prayer for him, her son, being at the 
time in his state-room, had been conscious of his mother's 

This she read to her aunt the same day, thinking it might 
tend to comfort her. 

And then she waited with great anxiety for her cousin's 
return, when she might have her doubts resolved as to the 
truth pr falsehood of the mysterious impression regarding 

He arrived three weeks afterwards, safe and well; but 
during the afternoon and evening that succeeded his arrival, 
no allusion whatever was made by any one to the above cir- 
cimistances. When the rest of the family retired, Louisa 
remained, proposing to question him on the subject. He had 
stepped out ; but after a few minutes he returned to the par- 
lour, came up to the opposite side of the table at which she 
was sitting, looking agitated, and, before she herself could 
proffer a word, he said, with much emotion, ** Cousin, I must 
tell you A most remarkable thing that happened to me." And 
with that, to her astonishment, he burst into tears. 

She felt that the solution of her doubts was at hand ; and 

^ so it proved. He told her that one night during the voyage, 

; soon after he had lain down, he saw, on the side of the state- 
room opposite his berth, the appearance of his mother. It 

\ was so startlingly like a real person, that he rose and ap- 
proached it. He did not, however, attempt to touch it, being 
tdtimately satisfied that it was an apparition only. But on 
his return to his berth he still saw it, for some minutes, as 

' before. 

On comparing notes, it was ascertained fbisA. ^"^ c^i^tmi^qt^ 


wluch the young man thus saw the appearance of his mother 
at sea was the same on which she had so earnestly prayed for 
his safety — ^the very same, too, which his cousin Louisa had 
designated ia writing, three weeks before, as the time when 
he had seen the apparition in question. And, as nearly 
as they could make it out, the hour also corresponded. 

The above narrative was communicated to me* by the two 
ladies concerned, the mother and her niece, both being toge- 
ther when I obtained it. They are highly intellectual and 
cultivated. I am well acquainted with them, and I know that 
entire reliance may be placed on their statement. 

In this case, as in that in which the apparition of Mr. 
Thompson showed itself to mother and daughter, there are 
. two persQiis Jbj^vi^g coincident sensations — ^Louisa impressed 
that her cousin was conscious of his mother's presence, and 
the cousin impressed with that very consciousness. Unlike 
the Thompson case, the cousins were many hundred miles dis- 
tant from each other at the time. Suggestion was impossible ; 
equally so was any mistake by after-thought. Louisa com- 
mitted her impression to writing at the time, and read it to 
her aunt. The writing remained, real and definite, in proof 
of that impression. -4aid she made no inquiry of her cousin, 
put no leading question, to draw out a confirmation or refiita- 
tion of her perceptions regarding him. The young man 
volimteered his story ; and his tears of emotion attested the 
impression which the apparition had made. 

Chance coincidence, as every one must see, was out of the 
question. Some other explanation must be sought. 

The following narrative, drawn from nautical life, exhibits 
coincidences as immistakeably produced by some agency other 
than chance. 


Mr. Robert Bruce, originally descended from some branch 
of the Scottish family of that name, was bom, in humble 
circimistances, about the close of the last century, at Torbay, 
in the south of England, and there bred up to a seafaring 

When about thirty years of age, to wit, in the year 1828, 
he was first mate on a barque tradicLg between Liverpool and 
St. John's, New Brunswick. 

On one of her voyages, boimd westward, being then some, 

» Oiittieftt\ioiA.Tiga«b,1859. 

IN THE captain's CABIN. 243 

five or SIX weeks out, and having neared the eastern portion 
of the Banks of Newfoundland, the captain and mate had been 
on deck at noon, taking an observation of the sun ; after 
which they both descended to calculate their day's work. 

The cabin, a small one, was immediately at the stem of the 
vessel, and the short stairway, descending to it, ran athwart- 
ships. Immediately opposite to this stairway, just beyond 
I a small square landing, was the mate's state-room ; and jQpom 
that landing there were two doors, close to each other, the 
one opening aft into the cabin — the other, fronting the stair- 
way, into the state-room. The desk in the state-room was in 
the forward part of it, close to the door ; so that any one 
sitting at it and looking over his shoulder could see into the 
[ The mate, absorbed in his calculation, which did not result 
^ " as he expected, varying considerably from the dead-reckoning, 

* had not noticed the captain's motions. When he had com- 
pleted his calculations, he called out, without looking round, 

^ "I make our latitude and longitude so and so. Can that be 

* i right ? How is yours sir ? " 

^ . Receiving no reply, he repeated his question, glancing over 

'•''ids shoulder and perceiving, as he thought, the captain busy 

* ' writing on his slate. Still no answer. Thereupon he rose ; 

^ \ and, as he fronted the cabin-door, the figure he had mistaken 

**"for the captain raised its head, and disclosed to the astonished 
mate the features of an entire stranger. 

" Bruce was no coward ; but, as he met that fixed gaze look- 
ing directly at him in grave silence, and became assured that 
lit was no one whom he had ever seen before, it was too much 

™* for him; and instead of stopping to question the seeming 

*** intruder, he rushed upon deck in such evident alarm that it 
instantly attracted the captain's attention. "Why, Mr. 
Bruce," said the latter, " what in the world is the matter 

md with you?" 

otthi " Tme matter, sir ? Who is that at your desk ? " 

TbA^ " No one that I know of." 

trisii} " But there is, sir : there's a stranger there." 

! " A stranger ! Why, man, you must be dreaming. You 

I82fetist have seen the steward there, or the second mate. Who 

1 aiMse would venture down without orders ? " 

" But, sir, he was sitting in your arm-chair, fronting the 

ssaiooT, writing on your slate. Then he looked up ftdl in my 

— 4ce ; and, if ever I saw a man plainly and diat^bie^X^ YCL^Qoaa. 
^orld, I sair iim." 


"Hun! Whom?" 

" God knows, sir : I don't. I saw a man, and a man I liad 
never seen in my life before/* 

" You must be going crazy, Mr. Bruce. A stranger, and 
we nearly six weeks out ! " 

'* I know, sir ; but then I saw him." 

" Go down, and see who it is." 

!ftruce hesitated. " I never was a believer in ghosts," he 
said ; " but, if the truth must be told, sir, I'd rather not face 
it alone." 

" Come, come, man. Go down at once, and don't make a 
fool of yourself before the crew." 

"I hope you've always foimd me willing to do what's 
reasonable," Bruce replied, changing colour ; " but if it's ^11 
the same to you, sir, I'd rather we should both go down 

The captain descended the stairs, and the mate followed 
him. Nobody in the cabin ! They examined the state-rooms. 
Not a soul to be foimd ! 

" Well, Mr. Bruce," said the captain, " did not I tell you 
you had been dreaming P " 

" It's all very well to say so, sir ; but if I didn't see that 
man writing on your slate, may I never see my home and 
family again ! " 

" Ah ! writing on the slate ! Then it should be there stilL 
And the captain took it up. 

" By God ! " he exclaimed, *' here's something, sure enough ! 
Is that your writing, Mr. Bruce P " 

The mate took the slate ; and there, in plain, legible 
characters, stood the words, " Steer to the nor'west." 

" Have you been trifling with me, sir P" added the captaiD; 
in a stem manner. 

" On my word as a man and as a sailor, sir," replied Bruce,j 
" I know no more of this matter than you do. I have tol 
you the exact truth." 

The captain sat down at his desk, the slate before him, iJ' 
deep thought. At last, turning the slate over and pushing i 
towards Bruce, he said, "Write down, * Steer to the nor'west/^ 

The mate complied ; and the captain, after narrowly com" 
paring the two handwritings, said, " Mr. Bruce, go and id 
the second mate to come down here." 

He came ; and at the captain's request, he also wrote th 
same words. So did the steward. So, in succession, di( 
every m^n of the crew who coviiflL ^sm\fc ^\» ^iSi. But not o: 



A RESCUE. 245 

of the various hands resembled, in any degree, the mysterious 

When the crew retired, the captain sat deep in thought. 
" Could any one have been stowed away ? " at last he said. 
" The ship must be searched ; and if I don't find the fellow 
he must be a .good hand at hide-and-seek. Order up all 

Every nook and comer of the vessel, from stem to stem, 
was thoroughly searched, and that with all the eagerness of 
excited curiosity, — for the repoi:t had gone out that a stranger 
had shown himself on board ; but not a Hving soul beyond 
the crew and the officers was found. 

Returning to the cabin after their fruitless search, " Mr. 

Bruce," said the captain, " what the do you make of all 


"Can't tell, sir. / saw the man write; you see the 
. writing. There must be something in it." 
- " Well, it would seem so. We have the wind free, and I 
have a great mind to keep her away and see what will come 
of it." 
i ** I surely would, sir, if I were in your place. It's only a 
' few hours lost, at the worst." 

^' Well, we'll see. Go on deck and give the course nor'west. 
And, Mr. Bruce," he added, as the mate rose to go, " have 
a look-out aloft, and let it be a hand you can depend on." 

His orders were obeyed. About three o'clock the look-out 
reported an iceberg nearly ahead, and, shortly after, what he 
3;, thought was a vessel of some kind close to it. 

As they approached, the captain's glass disclosed the fact 

'^ that it was a dismantled ship, apparently frozen to the ice, and 

, with a good many human beings on it. Shortly after, they 

J hove to, and sent out the boats to the relief of the sufferers. 

It proved to be a vessel from Quebec, bound to Liverpool, 

with passengers on board. She had got entangled in the ice, 

: and finally frozen fast, and had passed several weeks in a 

miost critical situation. She was stove, her decks swept — ^in 

, fact, a mere wreck ; all her provisions and ahnost all her 

r water gone. Her crew and passengers had lost all hopes of 

^ being saved, and their gratitude for the imexpected rescue was 

proportionately great. 

As one of the men who had been brought away in the third 

boat that had reached the wreck was ascending the ship's side, 

y the mate^ catching a glimpse of his face, started back in con- 



stemation. It was tlie very fiice he liad seen three or four 
hours before, looking np at him from the captain's desk. 

At first he tried to persuade himself it might be fancy ; but 
the more he examined the man the more sure he became that 
he was right. Not only the face, but the person and the 
dress exacfly corresponded. 

As soon as the exhausted crew and famished passengers 
were cared for, and the barque on her course again, the mate 
called the captain aside. " It seems that was not a ghost I 
saw to-day, sir : the man's aUve." 

" What do you mean ? Who's aHve P " 

" Why, sir, one of the passengers we have just saved is the 
same man I saw writing on your slate at noon. I would 
swear to it in a court of justice^" 

"Upon my word, Mr. Bruce," replied the captain, "this 
gets more and more singular. Let us go and see this man." 

They foimd him in conversation with the captain of the 
rescued ship. They both came forward, and expressed in the 
warmest terms, their gratitude for deliverance from a horrible 
fate — slow-coming death by exposure and starvation. 

The captain replied that he had but done what he was 
certain they would have done for him under the same circum- 
stances, and asked them both to step down into the cabin. 
Then, turning to the passenger^ he said, " I hope, sir, you 
will not think I am trifling with you ; but I would be much 
obliged to you if you would write a few words on this slate." 
And he handed hun the slate, with that side up on which the 
mysterious writing was not. " I will do anything you ask," 
replied the passenger ; " but what shall I write P " 

*' A few words are all I want. Suppose you write, * Steer 
to the nor'west.' " 

The passenger, evidentlv puzzled to make out the motive 
for such a request, complied, however, with a smile. The 
captain took up the slate and examined it closely ; then, 
stepping aside, so as to conceal the slate from the passenger, 
he turned it over, and gave it to him again with the other 
side up. 

" You say that is your handwriting P" said he. 

" I need not say so," rejoined the other, looking at it, " for 
you saw me write it." 

" And this P" said the captain, turning the slate over. 

The man looked first at one writing, then at the other, 
quite confounded. At last, " What is the meaning of this P" 


said he. "I only wrote one of these. Who wrote the 
other P" 

" That's more than I can tell you, sir. My mate here says 
you wrote it, sitting at this desk, at noon to-day." 

The captain of the wreck and the passenger looked at each 
other, exchanging glances of inteUi^nce W surprise ; and 
the former asked the latter, " Did you dream that you wrote 
on this slate P" • 

No, sir, not that I remember." 

You speak of dreaining," said the captain of the barque. 
" What was this gentleman about at noon to-day P" 

" Captain," rejoined the other, " the whole thing is most 
mysterious and extraordinary ; and I had intended to speak 
to you about it as soon as we got a little quiet. This gentle- 
man " (pointing to the passenger), " being much exhausted, 
fell into a heavy sleep, or what seemed such, some time 
before noon. After an hour or more, he awoke, and said to 
me, ' Captain, we shall be relieved this very day.' When I 
asked him what reason he had for saying so, he replied that 
he had dreamed that he was on board a barque, and that she 
was coming to our rescue. He described her appearance and 
rig ; and, to our utter astonishment, when your vessel hove 
in sight she corresponded exactly to his description of her. 
We had not put much faith in what he said ; yet still we 
hoped there might be something in it, for drowning men, 
you know, wiU catch at straws. As it has turned out, I 
cannot doubt that it was all arranged, in some incompre- 
hensible way, by an overruling Providence, so that we might 
be saved. To Him be all thanks for His goodness to us." 

" There is not a doubt," rejoined the other captain, " that 
the writing on the slate, let it have come there as it may, 
saved all your lives. I was steering at the time considerably 
south of west, and I altered my course to norVest, and had 
a look-out aloft, to see what would come of it. But you 
say," he added, turning to the passenger, " that you did not 
dream of writing on a slate P" 

" No, sir. I have no recollection whatever of doing so. I 
got the impression that the barque I saw in my dream was 
coming to rescue us ; but how that impression came I cannot 
tell. There is another very strange thing about it," he 
added. " Everything here on board seems to me quite fami- 
liar ; yet I am very sure I never was in your vessel before. 
It is cdl a puzzle to me. What did your mate see ?" 

Hiereupon Mr. Bruce related to them all the ciicwjca&W^L^^ifc^^ 


above detailed. The conclusion they finally arrived at was, 
that it was a special interposition of Providence to save them 
from what seemed a hopeless fate. 

The above narrative was communicated to me by Captain 
J. S. Clarke, of the schooner Julia Hallock,* who had it 
directly from Mr. Bruce himself. They sailed together for 
seventeen months, in the years 1836 and 1837 ; so that Cap- 
tain Clarke had the story from the mate about eight years 
after the occurrence. He has since lost sight of him, and 
does not know whether he is yet alive. All he has heard of 
him since they were shipmates is, that he continued to trade 
to New Brunswick, that he became the master of the brig 
Comet, and that she was lost. 

I asked Captain Clarke if he knew Bruce well, and what 
sort of man he was. 

** As truthful and straightforward a man," he replied, "as 
ever I met in all my life. We were as intimate as brothers ; 
and two men can't be together, shut up for seventeen months 
in the same ship, without getting to know whether they can 
trust one another's word or not. He always spoke of the 
circumstance in terms of reverence, as of an incident that 
seemed to bring him nearer to God and to another world. 
I'd stake my life upon it that he told me no lie." 

This story, it wiU be observed, I had at second-hand only, 
and related after an interval of more than twenty years from 
the time it was told to Captain Clarke. I had no opportu- 
nity of cross-examining the main witness. Inaccuracies, 
therefore, may, with the best intentions on the part of all 
concerned, have crept into it. Yet the evidence, with the 
drawback above stated, is direct enough. And Captain 
Clarke furnishes the best proof of his sincerity when he 
permits me to use his name as reference in support of what I 
have here related. 

Evidence at second-hand, how reliable soever it appear, 
might properly be deemed inconclusive if the story stood 
alone. But if we find others, as we have, directly authen- 
ticated, of the same class, furnishing proof of pnenomena 
strictly analogous to those which lie at the bottom of this 
narrative, there seems no sufficient reason why we should 

* In Jrdy, 1859. The " Julia HaUock" was then lying at the foot of Rut- 
gers Slip, New York. She trades between New York and St. Jago, in the 
island of Cuba. The captain allowed me to use his name, and to refer to 
liim as evidence for the truth of what is here set down. 


regard it as apocryplial> or, setting it down as some idle 
forecastle yam, should refuse to admit it as a valid item of 

It is not, for example, characterised by phenomena more 
marvellous than those presented in the following story, of 
much later date, and directly authenticated by the chief 
witness : — 


In November of the year 1843, Miss H , a young lady 

then between thirteen and fourteen years of age, was on a 

visit to a family of her acquaintance (Mr, and Mrs. E ) 

residing at their country-seat in Cambridgeshire, England. 

Mrs. E was taken ill ; and, her disease assuming a 

serious form, she was recommended to go to London for 
medical advice. She did so ; her husband accompanied her ; 
and they left their guest and their two children, the youngest 
only ten weeks old, at home. 

The journey, however, proved unavailing : the disease in- 
creased, and tnat so rapidly that, after a brief sojourn in the 
metropolis, the patient comd not bear removal. 

In the meantime the youngest child, little Fannie, sick- 
ened, and, after a brief illness, died. They wrote imme- 
diately to the father, then attending on what he felt to be 
the death-bed of his wife ; and he posted down at once. It 
was on a Monday that the infant died ; on Tuesday Mr. 

E arrived, made arrangements for the funeral, and left 

on Wednesday to return to his wife, from whom, however, 
he concealed the death of her infant. 

On Thursday, Miss H received from him a letter, in 

which he begged her to go into his study and take from his 
desk there certain papers which were pressingly wanted. It 
was in this study that the body of the infant lay in its coflRn ; 
and, as the young lady proceeaed thither to execute the com- 
mission, one of the servants said to her, " Oh, miss, are you 
not afraid ?" She replied that there was nothing to be afraid 
of, and entered the study, where she found the papers re- 

auired. As she turned, before leaving the room, to look at 
lie babe, she saw, reclining on a sofa near to it, the figure of 
■ a lady whom she recognised as the mother. Having from 
infancy been accustomed to the occasional sight of appari- 
tions, she was not alarmed, but approached the sofa to satisfy 
herself that it was the appearance of her friend. Standing 
within three or four feet of the figure for several minutes, 

M 3 


she assured herself of its identity. It did not speak, but, 
raising one arm, it first pointed to the body of the infant, 
and then signed upwards. Soon afterwards, and before it 
disappeared, the young lady left the room. 

This was a few minutes after four o'clock in the afternoon. 

Miss H particularly noticed the time, as she heard the 

clock strike the hour a little before she entered the study. 

The next day she received from Mr. E a letter, in- 
forming her that his wife had died the preceding day (Thurs- 
day) at half-past four. And when, a few days later, that 

gentleman himself arrived, he stated that Mrs. E 's mind 

had evidently wandered before her death; for, but a little 
time previous to that event, seeming to revive as from a 
swoon, she had asked her husband " why he had not told her 
that her baby was in Heaven." When he replied evasively, 
still wishing to conceal from her the fact of her child's death, 
lest the shock might hasten her own, she said to him, " It is 
useless to deny it, Samuel ; for I have just been homey and 
have seen her in her Utile coffin. Except for your sake, I 
am glad she is gone to a better world ; for I shall soon be 
there to meet her myself." Yery shortly after this she 

This narrative was related to me in January, 1859, by the 
lady who saw the apparition. She is now the wife of a 
learned professor, and the active and respected mother of a 
family, with as little, apparently, of the idle enthusiast or 
dreamy visionary about her as possible. She resides near 

It will be observed that, as the yoimg lady entered the 
study a few minutes after four, and as the mother spoke of 
her alleged visit very shortly before her death, which occurred 
at half-past four, the coincidence as to time is, as nearly as 
may be, exact. 

* This story was submitted by me, in manuscript, to the lady in question, 
and its accuracy assented to by her. 

In exemplification of the manner in which such phenomena are often kept 

hushed up, I may state that Miss H , though with an instinctive feeling 

of how it would be received, ventured, soon after she left the study, to say 
to a lady then residing in the house, that she thought she had just seen 

Mrs. E , and hoped there would be no bad news from London the next 

day. For this she was so sharply chidden, and so peremptorily bid not to 
nurse such ridiculous fancies, that, even when the confirmatory news arrived 

and Mr. E returned home, she was deterred from stating the cironm- 

0taace to him. To this day he does not know it. 


In the preceding narrative, as in most of those Trhich 
reach ns touching apparitions of the living, the subject of the 
phenomenon was insensible during its occurrence. But this 
does not seem to be a necessary condition. Examples may- 
be found, in which not only the person of whom the double 
appears is not asleep nor in a trance, but is present at the 
moment of that appearance, and himself witnesses it. Such 
an example I have been fortunate enough to obtain, directly 
authenticated by two of the witnesses present. Here it is : — * 


In the month of October, 1833, Mr. C , a gentleman, 

several members of whose family have since become well and 
favourably known in the Uterary world, was residing in a 
country house, in Hamilton Coimty, Ohio. He had just 
completed a new residence, about seventy or eighty yards from 
that in which he was then living, intending to move into it 
in a few days. The new house was in plain sight of the old, 
no tree or shrub intervening ; but they were separated, about 
half way, by a small, somewhat abrupt ravine. A garden 
stretched from the old house to the hither edge of this ravine, 
and the farther extremity of this garden was about forty 
yards from the newly erected building. Both buildings 
fronted west,- towards a public road, the south side of the 
old dwelling being directly opposite to the north side of the 
new. Attached to the rear of the new dwelling was a spa- 
cious kitchen, of which a door opened to the north. 

The family, at that time, consisted of father, mother, 
uncle, and nine children. One of the elder daughters, then 
between fifteen and sixteen years old, was named Hhoda ; and 

* In the first editions of this work, another narrative, bearing upon the 
habitual appearance of a living person, was here given. It is now replaced 
by that of the " Two Sisters," for the following reasons. Ji. Mend of one of 
the parties concerned, having made inquiries regarding the story, kindly 
fnmished me with the result ; and the evidence thus adduced tended to 
invalidate essential portions of it. A recent visit to Europe enabled me to 
make farther inquiries into the matter ; and though, in some respects, these 
were confirmatory, yet I learned that a considerable portion of the narrative 
in question, which had been represented to me as directly attested, was, in 
reality, sustained only by second-hand evidence. This circumstance, taken 
in connection with the conflicting statements above referred to, places the 
Btory outside the rule of authentication to which, in these pages, T have 
endeavoured scrupulously to conform ; and I therefore omit it altogether. 

It is very gratifying to find, that, after the test of six months' publicity, 
fche authenticity of but a single narrative, out of the seventy or eighty that 
ore embraced in this volume, has been called in question. — Note to English 
Edition, July, 1860. 


another, the youngest but one, Lucy, was between three and 
four years of age. 

One afternoon in that month of October, after a heavy rain, 
the weather had cleared up; and between four and five 

o'clock, the sun shone out. About five o'clock, Mrs. C 

stepped out into a yard on the south side of the dwelling they 
were occupying, whence, in the evening sun, the new house, 
including the kitchen already referred to, was distinctly 

visible. Suddenly she called a daughter, A y saying to 

her, " What can Rhoda possibly be doing there, with the 
child in her arms P She ought to know better, this damp 

weather." A , looking in the direction in which her 

mother pointed, saw, plainly and unmistakably, seated in a 
rocking-chair just within the kitchen-door of the new re- 
sidence, Rhoda, with Lucy in her arms. " What a strange 
thing !" she exclaimed ; " it is but a few minutes since I left 
them up-stairs*" And, with that, going in search of them, 
she found both in one of the upper rooms, and brought them 

down. Mr. C and other members of the family soon 

joined them. Their amazement, that of Rhoda especially, 
may be imagined. The figures seated at the hall-door, and 
the two children now actually in their midst, were absolutely 
identical in appearance, even to each minute particular of dress. 

Five minutes more elapsed, in breathless expectation, and 
there still sat the figures ; that of Rhoda appearing to rock 
with the motion of the chair on which it seemed seated. All 
the family congregated, and every member of it — ^therefore 
twelve persons in all — saw the figures, noticed the rocking 
motion ; and became convinced, past all possible doubt, that it 
was the appearance of Rhoda and Lucy. 

Then the father, Mr. C y resolved to cross over and 

endeavour to obtain some solution of the mystery ; but, hav- 
ing lost sight of the figures in descending the ravine, when 
he ascended the opposite bank, they were gone. 

Meanwhile the daughter A had walked down to the 

lower end of the garden, so as to get a closer view ; and the 
rest remained gazing from the spot whence they had first 
witnessed this imaccountable phenomenon. 

Soon after Mr. C had left the house, they all saw the 

appearance of Rhoda rise from the chair with the child in its 
arms ; then lie down across the threshold of the kitchen- 
door ; and aft»r it had remained in that recumbent position for 
a minute or two, still embracing the child, the figures were 
seen gradually to sink down, out of sight. 


When Mr. C reached the entrance, there was not a 

trace nor appearance of a human being. The rocking-chair, 
which had been conveyed across to the kitchen some time be- 
fore, still stood there, just inside the door, but it was empty. 
He searched the house carefully, from garret to cellar ; but 
nothing whatever was to be seen. He inspected the clay, 
soft from the rain, at the rear exit of the kitchen, and all 
around the house, but not a footstep could he discover. There 
was not a tree or bush anywhere near, behind which any one 
could secrete himself, the dwelling being erected on a bare 

The father returned from his fruitless search, to learn, with 
a shudder, what the family, meanwhile, had witnessed. The 
circimistance, as may be suj^)osed, made upon them a pro- 
found impression ; stamping itself, in indelible characters, on 
the minds of aU.. But any mention of it was usually avoided, 
as something too serious to form the topic of ordinary con- 

I received it directly from two of the witnesses,* Miss A 

and her sister, Miss P . They both stated to me, that 

their recollections of it were as vivid as if it had occurred but 
a few weeks since. 

No clue or explanation of any kind was ever obtained; 
unless we are to accept as such the fact, that Rhoda, a very 
beautiful- and cultivated girl, at the time in blooming health, 
died very imexpectedly, on the 11th of the November of 
the year following, and that Lucy, then also perfectly well, 
followed her sister on the 10th of December, the same year : 
both deaths occurring, it wiU be observed, within a Httle 
m^ore than a year of that day on which the family saw the 
apparition of the sisters. 

There is a sequel to this story, less conclusive, but which 
may be worth relating. 

The new house was, after a time, tenanted by a son of 

Mr. C , and even from the time it was first occupied it 

began to acquire the reputation of being, occasionally, and to a 
slight extent, what is called haunted. The most remarkable 
incident occurred in this wise. 

A son of Mr. C 's brother, seven years old, Alexander 

by name, was playing one day, in the year 1868, in an upper 

• In New York, on February 22, 1860. On February 27, 1 submitted to 
these ladies the manusoript of the narrative, and th^ assented to its 


room, when, all at once, he noticed a little girl, seemingly 
about four years old, with a bright red dress. Though he 
had never seen her before, he approached her, hoping to find 
a playmate ; when she suddenly yanished before his eyes, or, 
as the child afterwards expressed it, she " went right out." 
Though a bold, fearless boy, he was very much frightened by 
this sudden disappearance, and came running down stairs to 
relate it in accents of terror, to his mother. 

It was afterwards recollected, that, during little Lucy's last 
illness, they had been preparing for her a red dress, which 
ereatly pleased the child's fancy. She was very anxious that 
it should be completed. 

One day she had said to a sister, " You will finish my dress 
even if I am ill — will you not ?" To which her sister had 
replied, " Certainly, my dear, we shall finish it, of course." 
" Oh ! not of coarse," said the child, " finish it of fine." 
This expression, at which they laughed at the time, served to 
perpetuate in the family the remembrance of the anxiety 
constantly evinced by the little sufferer about her new red 
dress ; which, however, she never lived to wear. 

It need hardly be added, that the little Alexander had never 
heard of his aunt Lucy, dying as she did in infancy twenty-five 
years before. The impression produced by this incident on 
the boy's mind, bold as was his natural character, was so deep 
and lasting, that, for months afterwards, nothing could induce 
him to enter the room again. 

Perhaps we ought not to pass by unheedingly a hint even 
so slightly indicated as that suggested by this last incident. 
The " ruling passion strong in death," has become a proverbial 
expression ; and, to a four years' infant, the longing after a 
bright new dress might take the place of maturer yearnings ; 
of love, in the youth ; of ambition, in the man of riper years. 
Why a childish fancy cherished up to the last moment of 
earth-life, should so operate in another phase of being as to 
modify a spirit-appearance, is not clear; perhaps it is un- 
likely that it shotdd do so ; it may not have been Lucy who 
appeared ; the coincidence may have been purely fortuitous. 
Yet I do not feel sure that it was so, or that no connection 
exists between the death-bed longing and the form selected (if 
it was selected) by the child-aunt when she appeared (if she 
did really appear) to her startled nephew. 

In the above example, as in that already given, of Mr. 
Thompaon appearing to mother and daughter, it is evident 


that the apparition of the two sisters, whatever its exact 
character, must have been, in some sense, objective ; in other 
words, it must have produced an image on the retina; for 
upon the senses of twelve witnesses precisely the same im- 
pression was made. Each one recognised, in the figures 
seated at the open door, at seventy or eighty yards' distance, 
the sisters Khoda and Lucy. All witnessed the motion of the 

rocking-chair. All, with the exception of Mr. C y saw the 

appearance of Rhoda rise from that ghair, lie down across the 
threshold of the door, and then disappear, as if sinking into 

the earth. Of the persons thus present. Miss A , one of 

the two ladies whose personal deposition to me attests this 
narrative, witnessed the apparent rising from the chair and 
sinking into the ground from the lower end of the garden, a 
distance of forty yards only. Fiaally, the actual presence of 
Rhoda and Lucy, in bodily form, among the spectators, pre- 
cluded the possibility of trick or optical deception. 

This presence of the two sisters, in their normal condition, 
suggests also a wholesome lesson. We must not generalise 
too hastily from a few facts. In most of the preceding 
examples the person appearing was asleej) or in a trance, and 
the theory which the most readily suggests itself is, that while 
the " brother of death*' held sway, the spiritual body, partially 
detached, might assume, at distance from the natural body, 
the form of its earthly associate. But in the present case, that 
theory seems inappUcable. The counterpart of the two sisters, 
seen by themselves as well as others, appears to be a phe- 
nomenon of a different character — ^more in the nature of a 
picture, or representation, perhaps ; by what agency or for 
what object presented we shall, it may be, inquire in vain. 

Indeed it is altogether illogical, in each particular instance 
of apparition, or other rare and unexplained phenomenon, to 
deny its reality until we can explain the purpose of its ap- 
p^rance ; to reject, in fact, every extraordinary fact imtil it 
shall have been clearly explained to us for what great object 
God ordains or permits it. In the present example we dis- 
cover no sufficient reason why two deaths not to occur for 
more than a year should be thus obscurely foreshadowed, if, 
indeed, foreshadowed they were. The only effect we may 
imagine to have been produced would be a vague appre- 
hension of evil, without certain cause or definite indication. 
But what then ? The phenomenon is one of a class, governed, 
doubtless, by general laws. There is good reason, we may 
justly infer, for the existence of that class; but we ou^ht 
not to be called upon to show th6 paTtic\i\a."t e\iftL\»>i^ ^*&as^y^ 


by each example. As a general proposition we believe in the 
utility of thunder-storms, as tending to purify the atmo- 
sphere ; but who has a right to require that we disclose the 
designs of Providence, if, during the elemental war, Amelia 
be stricken down a corpse from the arms of Celadon P 

Space fails me, and it might little avail to multiply exam- 
ples attesting apparitions of the living. I close flie series, 
therefore, by placing before the reader a narrative wherein, 
perhaps, he may find some traces, vague if they be, indicating 
the character of so many of the preceding examples as relate 
to appearances which show themselves during sleep or trance ; 
and hinting to us, if even slightly, how these may occur. 
I am enabled to furnish it at first hand, 


In June of the year 1857, a lady whom I shall designate 

as Mrs. A was residing with her husband, a colonel in 

the British army, and their infant child, on Woolwich 
Common, near London. 

One night in the early part of that month, suddenly 
awaking to consciousness, she felt herself as if standing by the 
bedside and looking upon her own body, which lay there by 
the side of her sleeping husband. Her first impression was 
that she had died suddenly ; and the idea was confirmed by 
the pale and lifeless look of the body, the face void of expres- 
sion, and the whole appearance showing no sign of vitality. 
She gazed at it with curiosity for some time, comparing its 
dead look with that of the fresh countenances of her husband 
and of her slimibering infant in a cradle hard by. For a 
moment she experienced a feeling of relief that she had 
escaped the pangs of death ; but the next she reflected what a 
grief her death would be to the survivors, and then came a 
wish that she could have broken the news to them gradually. 
While engaged in these thoughts, she felt herself carried to 
the wall of the room, with a feeling that it must arrest her 
fiirther progress. But no : she seemed to pass through it into 
the open air. Outside the house was a tree ; and this also she 
appeared to traverse, as if it interposed no obstacle. All this 
occurred without any desire on her part. Equally, without 
having wished or expected it, she found herself, after a time, 
on the opposite side of the Common, at Woolwich, close to 
the entr^ce of what is called the Repository.* She saw there. 


as is usual, a sentry, and narrowly observed his uniform and 
appearance. From his careless manner, she felt sure that, 
tliough she seemed to herself to be standing near him, he did 
not perceive her. Then, first passing to the arsenal, where 
she saw another sentinel, she returned to the barracks, and 
there heard the clock strike three. Immediately after this 
she found herself in the bedchamber of an intimate friend, 

Miss L-^^ — M , then residing at Greenwich. With her 

she seemed to commence a conversation, but its purport she 
did not afterwards distinctly recollect ; for soon alter it began 
she was conscious of seeing and hearing nothing more. 

Her first words on awaking next morning were, " So I am 
not dead, after all? " When her husband questioned her as 
to the meaning of so strange an exclamation, she related to 
hiTn the vision (if vision it was) of the night. 

The above occurred during a Wednesday night ; and they 

expected Miss L M on a visit on the next Friday. 

The husband exacted from his wife a promise that she would 
not write to, or in any way communicate with, this young 
lady in the meantime ; and she gave him her word of honour 
to that effect. 

So far there appeared to be nothing beyond an ordinary 
phenomenon, such as constantly occurs during sleep. It is 
not, indeed, customary to dream of seeing oneself; but who 
shall set limits to the vagaries of the sleepmg fancy ? 

The sequel, however, contains the puzzle, and, some may 
think, one of those explanatory hints that are worth noting 
and reflecting on. 

Colonel A was in company with his wife when, on the 

next Friday, she met her iriend. Miss L M . It 

ought to be stated that this lady has from her childhood 
habitually seen apparitions. No allusion whatever was made 
to the subject uppermost in their thoughts ; and after a while 
they all three walked out into the garden. There the two 
ladies began conversing about a new bonnet ; and Mrs, 

A said, " My last was trimmed with violet ; and I like 

the colour so much I think I shall select it again." " Yes," 
her Mend replied, " I know that is your colour." " How 

so ?" Mrs. A asked. " Because when you came to me the 

other night — ^let me see : when was it ? — ^ah, I remember, the 
night before last — ^it was robed in violet that you appeared to 
me." " I appeared to you the other night ?" " Yes, about 
three o'clock; and we had quite a conversation together. 
Have you no recollection of it It" 



This was deemed conclusive, both by husband and wife, in 
proof that something beyond the usual hypothesis of dream- 
mg fancy was necessary to explain the visionary excursion to 

This is the only time that any similar occurrence has 

happened to Mrs. Colonel A . Her husband is now in 

India, a brigadier-general ; and she has often earnestly 
longed that her spirit might be permitted, during the watches 
of the night, to visit him there. For a time, encouraged by 
what had already happened, she expected this. But longing 
and expectation have proved alike unavailing. TJnthought 
of, imwished for, the phenomenon came ; earnestly desired, 
fondly expected, it faued to appear. Expectant attention, 
then, is evidently not the explanation in this case. 

It was related to me in February, 1859, by the one lady, 
the nightly visitant, and confirmed to me, a few days after- 
wards, by the other, the receiver of the visit. 

Resembling in its general character the Wilkins dream, 
the above differs from it chiefly in this, that the narrator 
appears to have observed more minutely the succession of her 
sensations; thus suggesting to us the idea that the appa- 
rently lifeless body which seemed to her to remain behind 
might, for the time, have parted with what we may call a 
spiritual portion of itself ;* which portion, moving off without 
the usual means of locomotion, might make itself perceptible, 
at a certain distance, to another person. 

Let him who may pronounce this a fantastical hypothesis, 
absurd on its face, suggest some other sufficient to explain 
the phenomenon we are here examining. 

This phenomenon, whatever its exact character, is evidently 
the same as that which, under the name of taraith, has for 
centuries formed one of the chief items in what are usually 

• Dr. Kemer relates that on the 28th of May, 1827, about three o^dodc 
in the afternoon, being with Madame Hauffe, who was ill in bed at the time, 
that lady suddenly perceived the appearance of herself, seated in a chair, 
wearing a white dress j not that which she then wore, bnt another belonging 
to her. She endeavoared to cry out, but could neither speak nor mova 
Her eyes remained wide open and fixed ; but she saw nothing except the 
appearance and the chair on which it sat. After a time she saw tiie 
figure rise and approach her. Then, as it came quite close to her, ahe I 
expe;rienced what seemed an electric shock, the effect of which, was per 
ceptible to Dr. Kemer ; and, with a sudden cry, she regained the power of 
speech, and related what she had seen and felt. Dr. Kemer saiw nothing. 
— Seh&rm von Prevorst, pp. 138, 139. 


considered the superstitions of Scotland. In that country it 
is popularly regarded as a forewarning of death.* This, 
doubuess, is a superstition ; and by the aid of the preceding 
examples, one may rationally conjecture how it originated. 
The indications are : — 

That during a dream or a trance, partial or complete, the 
counterpart of a living person may show itself, at a greater or 
less distance from where that person actually is. 

And that, as a general rule, with probable exceptions, this 
counterpart appears where the thoughts or the affections, 
strongly excited, may be supposed to be.f 

In the case of Mary Goffe J the type is very distinct. Hers 
was that uncontrollable yearning which a mother only knows. 
" If I cannot sit, I will lie aU along upon the horse ; for I 
must go to see my poor babes.'* So when the thoughts of 

Mrs. E , dying in London, reverted to her infant, then 

lying in its coffin in Cambridgeshire. So, again, when the 
I Irish clergyman went to dine with his bishop, leaving his 
j wife sick at home, and she seemed to come forth to meet the 
returning absentee. To the apprentice, the probable mur- 
derer, we cannot ascribe what merits the name of affection. 
But we can imagine with what terrible vividness his feelings 
and apprehensions may have dwelt, throughout the protracted 
Scottish church-service, on the spot where lay the body of his 
i victim and of his unborn child. 

Less distinctly marked are some of the other cases, as that 
of Joseph Wilkins, not specially anxious about his mother; 
the Indiana bridegroom, Hugh, separated but an hour or two 
from his bride ; the servant-boy, Silas, gone a-fishing ; finally, 

: Mrs. A , with no prompting motive more than the 

f ordinary wish to visit a friend. In some of these cases, it 

' will be observed, death speedily followed ; in others it did not. 

Joseph Wilkins lived forty-five years after his dream. Hugh 

survived his wife. Silas is ahve, a prosperous tradesman. 

• " Barbara MacPherson, Relict of the deceast Mr. Alexander Mac Leod, 
late Minister of St. Eilda, informed me the Natives of that island have a 
particular kind of Second Sight, which is always a Forerunner of their 
approaching End. Some Months before they sicken, they are haunted with 
I an Apparition resembling themselves in all Respects, as to their Person, 
Features, or Cloathing." — Treatise on Seeorid Sight, BrewmSy cmd Appa/ritions^ 
Edinburgh, 1763, by Theophilus Insulanus, Relation X. • 

t " Examples have come to my knowledge in which sick persons, over- 
come with an unspeakable longing to see some absent firiend, have fallen into 
a swoon, and during that swoon have appeared to the distant object of their 
affection." — Jung Stilling : Theorie der Geisterkvmde^ § 100. 

X Chapter on Dreams. 


Mrs. A still lives, in excellent health. It is evident that 

a speedy death does not necessarily follow such an apparition. 

The reasons why it is in many cases the precursor of death 
probably are, that during a fatal illness the patient frequently 
falls into a state of trance, favourable, in all probability, to 
such a phenomenon; then, again, that, in anticipation of 
death, the thoughts recur with peculiar liveliness to absent 
objects of affection ; and, finally, perhaps, that the spiritual 
principle, soon to be wholly freed from its fleshly incum- 
brance, may, as it approaches the moment of entire release, 
the more readily be able to stray off for a time, determined in 
its course by the guiding influence of ^rmpathy. 

But it is evident that the vicinity oi death is not needed to 
confer this power, and that anxiety, arising from other cause 
than the anticipation of approaching dissolution, may induce 
it. A tempest aroused the fears of the mother for her son on 
the Bremen packet. She appeared to him in his cabin. Yet 
both mother and son are alive at this day. 

In this, as in a hundred other cases, the dispassionate ex- 
amination of an actual phenomenon, and of its probable cause, 
is the most effectual cure for superstitious excitement and 
vulgar fears. 



" Dare I say- 
No spirit ever brake the band 
That stays him from the native land 
Where first he walked when clasped in clay ? ] 

'* No yisnal shade of some one lost, 
Bnt he, the spirit himself, may come, 
Where all the nerve of sense is dumb. 

Spirit to spirit, ghost to ghost." — Tennyson. 

If, as St. Paul teaches, and Swedenborgians beKeve, there go 
to make up the personality of man a natural body and a 
spiritual body ;* if these co-exist, while earthly Kfe endures, 
in each one us ; if, as the apostle further intimates f and the 
preceding chapter seems to prove, the spiritual body — a coun- 
terpart, it would seem, to hiraian sight, of the natural body — 
may, during life, occasionally detach itself, to some extent or 
other, and fcr a time, from the material flesh and blood which 
for a few years it pervades in intimate association ; and if 
death be but the issuing forth of the spiritual body from its 
temporary associate ; then, at the moment of its exit, it is that 
spiritual body which through life may have been occasionally 
and partially detached from the natural body, and which at 
last is thus entirely and for ever divorced from it, that passes 
into another state of existence. 

But if that spiritual body, while still connected with its 
earthly associate, could, under certain circumstances, appear, 
distinct and distant from the natural body, and perceptible to 
human vision, if not to human touch, what strong presump- 
tion is there against the supposition that after its final 
emancipation the same spiritual body may still at times show 
itself to man P J 

* 1 Corinthians xv. 44. The phrase is not, "a natural body and a 
gpvriti^ it is expressly said, ** There is a natural body, and there is a 
spiritual boch/." 

t 2 Corinthians xii. 2. 

X The Rev. George Strahan, D.D., in his pre&oe to his collection of the 
"Prayers and Meditations" of his firiend, Dp. Samuel Johnson (London, 
1785), has the following passage : — 

" The improbability arising from rarity of occurreuctt ot «Mi^Qi»f&^ ^ 


If there be no sucli adverse presumption, then we ought to 
approach the subject, not as embodying some wild vagary 
barely worth noticing, just within the verge of possibility, but 
as a respectable and eminently serious question, worthy of our 
gravest attention, and as to which, let us decide as we will, 
there is much to be said on both sides before reaching a 

Nor is an apparition of the dead a phenomenon (or alleged 
phenomenon) of which the reality can be settled, affirmatively 
or negatively, by speculation in the closet. A hundred 
theorists, thus speculating, may decide, to their own satisfac- 
tion, that it ought not to be, or that it cannot be. But if 
sufficient observation show that it is, it only follows that these 
closet theorists had no correct conception of the proper or the 

It was in the field, not in the closet, that the question was 
decided whether aerolites occasionally fall upon our earth. 
Chladni and Howard might have theorized over their desks 
for a lifetime : they would have left the question open still. 
But they went out into the world. They themselves saw no 
aerolite faU. But they inspected meteoric masses said to have 
fallen. They made out fists of these. They examined wit- 
nesses ; they collected evidence. And finally they convinced 
the world of scientific sceptics that the legends in regard to 
falling stones which have been current in all ages, ever since 
the days of Socrates, were something more than fabulous 

I propose, in prosecuting a more important inquiry, to 
follow the example of Chladni and Howard, with what success 
time and the event must determine. 

Innumerable examples may be met with of persons who 
allege that they have seen apparitions — among these, men 

eminent for intelligence and uprightness. A noted example 


nature amounts to no disproof: it is a presumptive reason of doubt too 
feeble to withstand the conviction induced by positive credible testimony, 
such as that which has been borne to shadowy reappearances of the dead." 
, . . ** One true report that a spirit has been seen may give occasion 
and birth to many false reports of similar incidents ; but universal and 
unconcerted testimony to a supernatural casualty cannot always be untme. 
An appearing spirit is a prodigy too singular in its nature to become a 
subject of general invention.** . . . "To a mind not influenced by 
popular prejudice, it wilt be scarcely possible to believe that apparitions 
would have been vouched for in all countries had they never been seen 

m any.*' 


is that of Oberlin, the well-known Alsatian philanthropist, 
the benevolent pastor of Ban-de-la-Roche. 

He was visited, two years before his death — ^namely, in 
1824 — ^by a Mr. Smithson, who published an account of his 
visit.* Thence are gleaned the following particulars : — 


The valley of Ban-de-la-Roche, or Steinthal, in Alsace, the 
scene for more than fifty years of Oberlin's labours of love, 
surrounded by lofty mountains, is for more than half the year 
cut off from the rest of the world by snows obstructing the 

There Oberlin found the peasantry with very p3culiar opin- 
ions. He said to Mr. Smithson that when he first came to 
reside among the inhabitants of Steinthal, they had what he 
then considered "many superstitious notions respecting the 
proximity of the spiritual world, and of the appearance of 
various objects and phenomena in that world, which from 
time to time were seen by some of the people belonging to * 
his flock. For instance, it was not imusual for a person who 
had died to appear to some individual in the valley.*' . . . 
" The report of every new occurrence of this kind was brought 
to Oberhn, who at length became so much annoyed that he 
was resolved to put down this species of superstition, as he 
called it, from the pulpit, and exerted himself for a consider- 
able time to this end, but with little or no desirable effect. 
Cases became more numerous, and the circumstances so strik- 
ing, as even to stagger the scepticism of Oberlin himself." 
(p. 167.) 

Ultimately the pastor came over to the opinions of his 
parishioners in this matter. And when Mr. Smithson asked 
him what had worked such conviction, he replied " that he him- 
self had had ocular and demonstrative experience respecting 
these important subjects." He added that " he had a large 
pile of papers which he had written on this kind of spiritiml 
phenomena, containing the facts, with his own reflections 
upon them." (p. 158.) He stated further to Mr. Smithson 
that such apparitions were particularly frequent after that 
well-known and terrible accident which buried several vil- 
lages (the fall of the Rossberg, in 1806). Soon after, as 
Oberlin expressed it, a considerable number of the inhabitants 

* " InteUectnal Eepositoiy" for April 1840, pp. 151 to 16^, 

264 oberlin's belief in 

of the valley "had their spiritual eyesight opened'* (p. 159), 
and perceived the apparitions of many of the suflFerers. 

Stober, the pupil and biographer of Oberlin, and through- 
out his hfe the intimate friend of the family, states that the 
good pastor was fuUy i)ersuaded of the actual presence of his 
wife for several years after her decease. TTis unswerving 
conviction was that, like an attendant angel, she watched over 
him, held communion with him, and was visible to his sight ; 
that she instructed him respecting the other world, and 
guarded him from danger in this ; that, when he contem- 
plated any new plan of utility, in regard to the results of 
which he was uncertain, she either encouraged his efforts or 
checked him in his project. He considered his interviews 
with her not as a thmg to be doubted, but as obvious and 
certain — as certain as any event that is witnessed with the 
bodily eyes. When asked how he distinguished her appear- 
ance and her communications from dreams, he replied, " How 
do you distinguish one colour from another r* 

I myself met, when in Paris, during the month of May, 
1859, Monsieur Matter, a French gentleman holding an 
important official position in the Department of Public In- 
struction, who had visited Oberlin some time before his death, 
and to whom the worthy pastor submitted the " large pile of 
papers '' referred to by Mr. Smithson.t He found it to con- 
tain, among other things, a narrative of a series of apparitions 
of his deceased wife, and of his interviews with her. J 

Monsieur Matter, who kindly furnished me with notes,- in 
writing, on this matter, adds, "Oberlin was convinced that 
the inhabitants of the invisible world can appear to UJ3, and 
we to them, when God wills ; and that we are apparitions to 
them, as they are to us."§ 

Neither the intelligence nor the good faith of Oberlin can 
be called in question. But it wiU be said that intelligence 
and honesty are no security against hallucination, and that 
the pastor, in his secluded valley, after the loss of a wife whom 
he tenderly loved, might gradually have become infected with 
the superstitions of his parishioners. Although the opinions 
of such a man as Oberlin must ever count for something, yet 

* « Vie de J. F. Oberlin," par Stober, p. 223. 

f The mannscript was entitled " Journal des Apparitions et Instructions 
par B^ves." 

X Eni/rebiens was the word employed. 

§ TMa appears to have been the opinion of Jung Stilling, with whom 
Oberlin was well acquainted. See "Theori© d^r Geisterkunde," § 3. 


it is to be admitted that we have not the means of disproving 
such surmises as these. 

We need some circumstantial link, connecting the alleged 
apparition with the material world. Can we obtain such ? 
The following is from a respectable source. 


" Condivi relates an extraordinary story respecting Piero 
de' Medici, (son of Lorenzo 'the Magnificent,') communicated 
to him by Michael Angelo, who had, it seems, formed an in- 
timacy with one Cardiere, an improvisatore that frequented 
the house of Lorenzo, and amused his evenings with singing 
to the lute. Soon after the death of Lorenzo, Cardiere in- 
formed Michael Angelo that Lorenzo had appeared to him, 
habited only ia a black and ragged mantle thrown over his 
naked limbs, and had ordered him to acquaint Piero de' 
Medici that he would in a short time be banished from Flo- 
rence. Cardiere, who seems judiciously to have feared the 
resentment of the living more than of tne dead, declined the 
office ; but soon afterwards Lorenzo, entering his chamber at 
midnight, awoke him, and, reproaching him with his inatten- 
tion, gave him a violent blow on the cheek. , Having com- 
municated this second visit to his friend, who advised him no 
longer to delay his errand, he set out for Careggi, where Piero 
then resided ; but, meeting him with his attendants about 
midway between that place and Florence, he there delivered 
his message, to the great amusement of Piero and his fol- 
lowers, one of whom — Bernardo Divizio, afterwards Cardinal 
da Bibbiena — sarcastically asked him * whether, if Lorenzo 
had been desirous of giving information to his son, it was 
likely he would have preferred such a messenger to a personal 
communication.' The biographer adds, *La vision del Car- 
diere, o delusion diabolica, o predizion divina, o forte imma- 
ginazione, ch' ella si fosse, si verific6.' "* 

Here is an alleged prediction and its fulfilment. But the 
course of policy pursued by Piero was such that it needed not 
prophetic instinct to discern the probability that he might one 
day lose his position ia Florence. On the other hand, those 

* " The vision of Cardiere, be it diabolical delusion, or divine forewarn- 
ing, or vivid imagination, waa verified." The anecdote is extracted from 
" The Life of Lorenzo de' Medici," by William Roscoe, chap. x. 


wlio know Italian society will feel assured that a dependant! 
like Cardiere was not liely to venture on such a liberty, 
unless driven to it by what he thought an actual injunction. 

As to the cardinal's objection, it is a common one, often 
flippantly expressed. "It is somewhat remarkable," says 
Mr. Grose, " that ghosts do not go about their business like 
persons of this world. In cases of murder, a ghost, instead 
of going to the next justice of the peace, and laying its infor- 
mation, or to the nearest relation of the person murdered, 
appears to some poor labourer who knows none of the parties, 
draws the curtains of some decrepit nurse or abns- woman, or 
hovers about the place where his body is deposited."* 

If the cardinal or the antiquary merit a serious answer, it 
is this : If the appearance of apparitions be an actual phe- 
nomenon, it is without doubt regulated by some general law. 
And, to judge from the examples on record, it would seem 
that, under that law, it is only rarely, under certain condi- 
tions and to certain persons, that such appearance is possible. 

Somewhat more remarkable is the coincidence in the fol- 
lowing jcase : — 


When the celebrated Miss Anna Maria Porter was residing 
•at Esher, in Surrey, an aged gentleman of her acquaintance, 
who lived in the same village, was in the habit of frequenting 
her house, usually making his appearance every evening, 
reading the newspaper, and taking his cup of tea. 

One evening Miss Porter saw him enter as usual, and seat 
himself at the table, but without speaking. She addressed 
some remark to him, to which he made no reply ; and, after a 
few seconds, she saw him rise, and leave the room without 
uttering a word. 

Astonished, and fearing that he might have been suddenly 
taken ill, she instantly sent her servant to his house to make 
inquiries. The reply was, that the old gentleman had died 
suddenly about an hour before. 

This was related by Miss Porter herself to Colonel H y 

o*f the Second Life Guards, and by Colonel H 's widow 

repeated to me, in London, during the month of February, 

Unless we imagine, in this case, an escape from the nurse's 

* "Provincial Glossary and Popular Superstitions," by Francis Grose, 
Esq., F.A.S., 2nd ed., London, 1790, p. 10. 


tSLve resembling that of the member of the Plymouth Club in 
the example already cited from Sir Walter Scott,* it is difficult 
to avoid the conclusion that this was an apparition of the 
dead. Miss Porter herself believed it such ; and it appears 
that she. had sent immediately^ and that the old gentleman 
had died an hour before, 

\ It will be admitted that the following is quite as difficult to 
explain away. 


We shall not find, in any other class of society, so sensitive 
an aversion to be taxed vdth anything that may be construed 
into superstition as in the fashionable man of the world. For 
that reason the following, from the private diary of such an 
one, who passed his life in the most aristocratic circles of 
London and Paris, the intimate of nobles and princes of the 
blood, is the rather entitled to credit. ' The reserve with 
which such narratives are communicated, when the subjects 
belong to what is called good society, is evinced by the sub- 
stitution of initials for the full names. The narrative is 
communicated in the most direct manner by one who had the 
best opportunities of knowing the exact facts of the case, 

** Wednesday y December 26, 1832. — Captain recounted 

a curious anecdote that had happened in his own family. He 
told it in the following words : — 

" It is now about, fifteen months ago that Miss M , a 

connexion of my family, went with a party of friends to a 
concert at the Argyle Rooms. She appeared there to be sud- 

Idenly seized with indisposition, and, though she persisted for 
some time to struggle against what seemed a violent nervous 
.^ aflfection, it became at last so oppressive that they were obliged 
to send for their carriage and conduct her home. She was 
for a long time unwilling to say what was the cause of her 
indisposition; but, on being more earnestly questioned, she 
-, I at length confessed that she had, immediately on arriving in 
(T the concert-room, been terrified by a horrible vision, which 
r, unceasingly presented itself to her sight. It seemed to her 
as though a naked corpse was lying on the floor at her feet ; 
's the features of the face were partly covered by a cloth mantle, 
- but enough was apparent to convince her that the body was that 

e, .. — — 

* See chapter on Dreams. 


of Sir J Y . Every eflfort was made by her friends at 

the time to tranquillize her mind by representing the folly of 
allowing such delusions to prey upon her spirits, and she thus 
retited to bed ; but on the following day the family received 

the tidings of Sir J Y having been drowned in 

Southampton River that very night by the oversetting of his 
boat ; and the body was afterwards found entangled in a boat- 
cloak. Here is an authenticated case of second-sight, and of 
very recent date."* 

For the following I am indebted to the kindness of my 
friend Dr. Ashbumer, of London. 


"In the year 1814, I became acquainted with Colonel 
Nathan Wilson, a man of strong intellectual powers, who had 
served many years in India under Sir Arthur Wellesley, 
afterwards Duke of Wellington. I was introduced to him. by 
Sir Charles Forbes, at a shooting-lodge at Strathdon, and 
there we had an opportunity of becoming intimate. I had, 
from his own lips, the narrative I am about to relate to you, 
and which I may preface by a few words touching the opinions 
of the narrator. 

" Colonel Wilson made no secret of his atheism. In India 
especially, as I have myself observed, the tendency of many 
minds, influenced by considering the great diversities of re- 
ligious belief around them, is toward scepticism. Colonel 
Wilson, fortified by the perusal of Yolney, D'Holbach, 
Helvetius, Yoltaire, and others of similar stamp, rejected, as 
untenable, the doctrine of a future state of existence, and 
even received with some impatience any arguments on a sub- 
ject as to which, he seemed to think, no one could any farther 
enlighten him. 

" In the year 1811, being then in command of the 19th 
regiment of dragoons, f stationed at Tellicherry, and delight- 
ing in French literature, he formed an intimacy with Monsieur , 
Dubois, a Roman Catholic missionary priest, an ardent and I 
zealous propagandist and an accompKsned man. Notwithstand- 
ing the great difierence in their creeds, so earnest and yet 
liberal-miaded was the Frenchman, so varied his store of in- 
formation, and so agreeable and winning his manner, that 

* " A Portion of the Journal kept by Thomas Baikes, Esq., from 1831 to 
1847," 2nd ed., London, 1856, vol. i. p. 131. 
f Or posBibly the 17th dragoons j for he had commanded both. 


the mlssionaiy and the soldier associated much together, and 
finally formed a strong attachment to each other. The former 
did not fail to avaD. hunself of this intimacy by endeavouring 
to bring about the conversion of his friend. They conversed 
often and freely on religious subjects ; but Colonel Wilson's 
scepticism remained unshaken. 

"In July, 1811, the priest fell iQ, much to the regret of 
the little circle at TeUicherry, where he was greatly beloved. 
At the same time, a mutiny having broken out at VeUore, 
Colonel Wilson was summoned thither, and, proceeding by 
forced marches, encamped on an extensive plain before the 

" The night was sultry ; and Colonel Wilson, arrayed as is. 
common in that climate, in shirt and long Kght calico drawers 
with feet, sought repose on a couch within his tent ; but in 
vain. Unable to sleep, his attention was suddenly attracted 
to the entrance of his tent : he "saw the purdah raised and the 
priest Dubois present himself. The pale face and earnest 
demeanour of his friend, who stood silent and motionless, riveted 
his attention. He called him by name, but without reply : the 
purdah fell, and the figure disappeared. 

" The colonel sprang up, and, hastily donning his slippers, 
rushed from the tent. The appearance was stiU in sight, 
gliding through the camp, and making for the plain beyond. 
Colonel Wilson hastened after it, and at so rapid a pace that 
when his brother officers, roused by the sentries, went in 
pursuit of him, it was with difficulty he was overtaken. The 
apparition having been seen by Captain Wilson only, his 
comrades concluded that it was the effect of slight delirium 
produced by fatigue. But when the surgeon of the regiment 
felt the colonel's pulse, he declared that it beat steadily, with- 
out acceleration. 

" Colonel Wilson felt assured that he had received an inti- 
mation of the death of his friend the missionary, who had 
repeatedly promised, in case he died first, to appear to him as 
a spirit. He requested his brother officers to note the time. 
They did so ; and when subsequent letters from TeUicherry 
annoimced the decease of Dubois, it was foimd that he had 
died at the very hour when his likeness appeared, to his 

" Desirous to ascertain what effect this apparition had pro- 
duced on Colonel Wilson's opinions touching a future state, I 
put the question directly to him. * I think it a very curious 
phenomenon/ he replied, * not to be accounted for in the pre- 


sent state of our knowledge, and requiring inTestiglation. But 
it is not sufficient to alter my convictions. Some energetic 
projection from Dubois's brain, at tbe moment of approaching 
annihilation, might perhaps suffice to account for the ap- 
pearance which I undoubtedly witnessed.' ''* 


We can scarcely find a stronger proof of the vivid 'reality, 
to the observer, of this appearance than the shift ta whidi he 
is reduced to explain it. He " undoubtedly witnessed it," he 
tells us ; but, he argues, " it might, perhaps, be a projection 
from Dubois's brain at the moment of dissolution." What a 
perhaps is this ! A projection from the brain of a dying 
man is to appear miles away from his dying bed, and, having 
assumed hunmn form, is to imitate human locomotion ! What 
sort of projection ? Not a soul or a spiritual body, for an 
atheist admits no such entities — ^nothing that inhabits, or is 
to inhabit, a future world, of which an atheist denies the 
existence. What then ? A portion of the physical substance 
of the brain, detached from it, and shot off, like some military 
projectile, from TeUicherry to Vellore P Concede the mon- 
strous assumption. What directs it precisely to the friend 
to whom the owner of the brain had promised, in the event of 
death, to appear as a spirit ? But suppose it to have arrived 
at Colonel Wilson's tent : what gave a detached portion of a 
brain the power to clothe itself in the complete form of a 
man, with a head, and recognisable countenance, with arms, 
legs, a body ? — ^the power, too, to glide away from a person 
pursuing it ? 

But it is sheer waste of time to track to its source a hypo- 
thesis so preposterous as this. In what a maze of absurdity 
may a man, reputed intelligent, involve himself when governed 
by a settled predetermination to ignore the possibility of a 
future world, where our spirits may hereafter exist, and whence 
they may occasionally return ! 

Narratives of apparitions at or about the moment of death 
are perhaps the most frequent of any. For a striking and 
directly authenticated example of this class I am indebted to 
my friend WiLLiam Howitt, whose name is almost as familiar 
on this side of the Atlantic as in his own country. I give it 
in his own words. 

* Extracted from a letter in my possession, addressed to me by Dr. Ash- 
bQ2*ner, dated No. 7, Hyde Park Place, London^ March 12, 1859. 



*'The circumstance you desire to obtain from me is one 
whicli I have many times heard related by my mother. It was 
an event familiar to our family and the neighbourhood, and is 
connected with my earliest memories ; having occurred, about 
the time of my birth, at my father's house at Heanor, in 
Derbyshire, where I myself was bom, 

" My mother's family name, Tantum, is an imcommon one, 
which I do not recollect to have met with except in a story of 
Miss Leslie's. My mother had two brothers, Francis and 
Richard. The younger, Richard, I knew well, for he lived to 
an old age. The elder, Francis, was, at the time of the oc- 
currence I am about to report, a gay young man, about 
twenty, unmarried; handsome, frank, affectionate, and ex- 
tremely beloved by all classes throughout that part of the 
<jountry. He is described, in that age of powder and pigtails, 
as wearing his auburn hair flowing in ringlets on his shoidders, 
like another Absalom, aryi was much acimired, as well for his 
personal grace as for the life and gaiety of his manners. 

" One fine csdm afternoon, my mother, shortly after a con- 
finement, but perfectly convalescent, was lying in bed, en- 
joying, from her window, the sense of summer beauty and 
repose ; a bright sky above, and the quiet village before her. 
In this state she was gladdened by hearing footsteps which 
she took to be those of her brother Frank, .as he was familiarly 
called, approaching the chamber-door. The visitor knocked 
and entered. The foot of the bed was towards the door ; and. 
the curtains at the foot, notwithstanding the season, were 
drawn, to prevent any draught. Her brother parted them, 
and looked in upon her. His gaze wai^ earnest, and destitute 
of its usual cheerfulness, and he spoke not a word. * My 
dear Frank,' said my mother, * how glad I am to see you \ 
Come round to the bedside : I wish to have some talk with 

" He closed the curtains, as complying ; but, instead of 
doing so, my mother, to her astonishment, heard him leave 
the room, close the door behind him, and begin to descend 
the stairs. Greatly amazed, she hastily rang, and when her 
maid appeared she bade her call her brother back. The girl 
replied that she had not seen him enter the house. But my 
mother insisted, saying, ' He was here but this instant. Run ! 
quick ! Call him back ! I must see him !' 

^ The girl hurried away, but, after a time, returned, saying 


that she could learn nothing of him anywhere ; nor had any 
one in or about the house seen him either enter or depart. 

" Now, my father's house stood at the bottom of the village, 
and close to the high road, which was quite straight ; so that 
any one passing along it must have been seen for a much 
longer period than had elapsed. The girl said she had looked 
up and down the road, then searched the garden — a large, 
old-fashioned one, with shady walks. But neither in the 
garden nor on the road was he to be seen. She had inquired 
at the nearest cottages in the village ; but no one had noticed 
him pass. 

" My mother, though a very pious woman, was far from 
superstitious ; yet the strangeness of this circumstance struck 
her forcibly. While she lay pondering upon it, there was 
heard a sudden nmning and excited talking in the village 
street. My mother listened : it increased, though up to that 
time the village had been profoundly still ; and she became 
convinced that something very unusual had occurred. AgaiQ 
she rang the bell, to inquire the cause of the disturbance. 
This time it was the monthly nurse who answered it. She 
sought to tranquillize my mother, as a nurse usually does a 
patient. *0h, it is notning particular, ma'am,* she said, 

* some trifling aflair' — ^which she pretended to relate, passing 
lightly over the particulars. But her ill-suppressed agitation 
did not escape my n^other's eye. ^ Tell me the truth,' she said, 

* at once. I am certain something very sad has happened.' 
The woman still equivocated, greatly fearing the eflect upon 
my mother in her then situation. And at first the faimly 
joined in the attempt at concealment. Finally, however, my 
mother's alarm and earnest entreaties drew from them the ter- 
rible truth that her brother had just been stabbed at the top 
of the village, and killed on the spot. 

"The melancholy event had thus occurred. My uncle, 
Francis Tantum, had been dining at Shipley Hall, with Mr. 
Edward MiUer Mundy, member of Parliament for the county. 
Shipley HaU lay ofl" to the left of the village as you looked 
up the main street from my father's house, and about a mile 
distant frojn it ; while Heanor Fall, my uncle's residence, 
was situated to the right ; the road from the one country-seat 
to the other crossing, nearly at right angles, the upper por- 
tion of the village street, at a point where stood one of the 
two village inns, the Admiral Rodney, respectably kept by 
the widow H ^ks. I remember her well — a tail, fine- 


looking woman, who must liave been handsome in her youth, 
and who retained, even past middle age, an air superior to 
her condition. She had one only child, a son, then scarcely 
twenty. He was a good-looking, brisk young fellow, and 
bore a very fair character. He must, however, as the event 
showed, have been of a very hasty temper. 

"Francis Tantum, riding home from Shipley Hall after 
the early country dinner of that day, somewhat elate, it may 
be, with wine, stopped at the widow's inn and bade the son 
bring him a glass of ale. As the latter turned to obey, my 
uncle, giving the youth a smart switch across the back with 
his riding- whip, cried out, in his lively, joking way, ' Now 
be quick, Dick ; be quick !' 

" The yoimg man, instead of receiving the playftd stroke 
as a jest, took it as an insult. He rushed into the house, 
snatched up a carving-knife, and, darting back into the 
street, stabbed my uncle to the heart, as he sat on his horse, 
so that he fell dead, on the instant, in the road. 

" The sensation throughout the quiet village may be ima- 
gined. The inhabitants, who idolized the murdered man, 
were prevented from taking simmiary vengeance on the homi- 
cide only by the constables carrying him off to the office of 
the nearest magistrate. 

" Young H ^ks was tried at the next Derby Assizes ; 

but (justly, no doubt, taking into view the sudden irritation 
caused by the blow) he was convicted of manslaughter only, 
and, after a few months' imprisonment, returned to the 
village; where, notwithstanding the strong popular feeKng 
against him, he continued to keep the inn, even after his 
mother's death. He is still present to my recollection, a 
quiet, retiring man, never guilty of any other irregularity of 
conduct, and seeming to bear about with him the constant 
memory of his rash deed — a silent blight upon his life. 

" So great was the respect entertained for my uncle, and 
such the deep impression of his tragic end, that so long as 
that generation lived the church-bells of the village were 
regularly tolled on the anniversary of his death. 

" On comparing the circumstances and - the exact time at 
which each occurred, the fact was substantiated, that the 
apparition presented itself to my mother almost instantly 
after her brother had received the fatal stroke." * • 

* Extracted from a letter addressed to me by Mr. Howitt, dated High- 
gate, March 28, 1859. 

T5^ ^ 


Almost the only desirable condition left unfulfilled in the 
preceding narrative is that ir.ore than one person, and each 
influenced independently, should have witnessed the appari- 
tion. This additional voucher is supplied in the following: — 


The late Lord M , having gone to the Highlands about 

the end of the last century, left his wife perfectly well in 
London. The night of his arrival at his Highland home, he 
was awakened by seeing a bright light in his room. The 
curtains of his bed opened, and he saw the appearance of 

Lady M standing there. He rang for his servant, and 

inquired of him what he saw; upon which the ex- 
claimed, in terror, ** It's my lady !'* Lady M had died 

suddenly in London that night. The story made a great 
noise at the time ; and George the Third, sending for Lord 

M and ascertaining from him the truth of it, desired 

him to write out the circumstances as they happened ; and 
the servant coimtersigned the statement. 

About a year afterwards, a child five years old, the 

youngest daughter of Lord M , rushed breathlessly into 

the nursery, exclaiming, " I have seen mamma standing at 
the top of the stairs and beckoning to me." That night the 
child, little Annabella M , was taken ill, and died. 

I can vouch, in an unqualified manner, for the authenticity 
of both the above circumstances ; having received the accoimt, 
in writing, from a member of Lord; M 's family. 

In the foUowing example the testimony of two witnesses 
to the same apparition is obtained under circumstances quite 
as conclusive. It was related to me in Naples, January 2, 
1857, by one of these witnesses (an intelligent English lady, 
of highly respectable family, who had spent many years m 
Russia), as foUows : — 


In the early part of the year 1856, Mrs. F resided for 

some months in the family of Prince , a nobleman who 

had occupied a high official position under the Emperor 

One evening, between eleven and twelve, Mrs. F was 

in a small cabinet adjoining the bedroom of the Princess 

and separated from it by hangings only, when she 

heard the door of the bed-chamber open, and the princess (as 

LOUISE. 275 

she supposed) enter the room, set down her candle, and walk 
about. Expecting her to come into the cabinet, as was her 
wont, she waited ; but in vain. Then she heard her again 
open the door and descend the stairs. Some twenty minutes 
afterwards, she heard steps re-ascending the stairs, and the 

princess herself entered and spoke to her. Mrs. F 

ascertained, to her surprise, that the princess had not been 
in her room before ; yet the latter testified no astonishment 
when Mrs. F mentioned what she had heard. 

Learning, next morning, that the lady's maid had not 
entered the room, and that no one else had access to it^ Mrs. 

F again adverted to the extraordinary occurrence ; and 

the princess told her frankly, what Mrs. F then learned 

for the first time, that they were accustomed to such myste- 
rious visits ; that they commonly portended some unusual 
occurrence in the family ; and that her husband had disposed 
of a palace they formerly owned in another street, for no 
other reason than to endeavour to escape the repeated noises 
and other disturbances by which they had been there tor- 
mented. One of these was the frequent sounding of heavy 
steps, during the dead of night, along a certain corridor. 
The prince had repeatedly, during the occurrence of these 
sounds, caused every egress from the corridor in question to 
be closed and guarded ; but in vain. No solution of the 
mystery was ever obtained. 

The princess added that to their new palace, in which they 
then were, and the windows of which looked out on the 
beautiful Neva, the noises had followed them, occurring at 
intervals. One of her daughters, previous to her marriage, 
had constantly experienced the sensation as of some one 
approaching her side, preceded by the tread of steps and 
what seemed the rustlmg of a silk dress, and sometimes 
accompanied by the sound as of water poured on the table. 

At this time there was in the house a femme-de-chambre, 
named Louise, a young German girl of respectable family, 
cultivated much beyond the station she then occupied, and 
which she had been induced to accept in consequence of a 
disappointment in love produced by the obstinate opposition 
of the young man's relatives to the proposed match. In 
consequence of her obliging, cheerful disposition, and her 
intelligence, she was a great favourite in the household, par- 
ticularly with Mrs. F , whom she had nursed during an 


When, subsequently, she herself fell iU, much interest ^^^^ 


felt for her by all tlie family, and Mrs. F was frequently 

at her bedside. 

One evening the familv physician, after visiting Louise, 
reported that she was doing very well, and would doubtless 

recover ; so that Mrs. F retired to rest without any 

anxiety on her account. 

About two o'clock that night she was disturbed by the 
feeling as of something touclung her ; and, thinking it to 
be a rat, she became thoroughly awake with the fright. Then 
she felt, most distinctly, the touch as it were of a human 
hand pressing gently on different parts of her body and 
limbs. The sensation was so positive and unmistakeable that 
she became convinced there was some one in the room. But 
she could see or hear nothing ; and after a time it ceased. 
The next morning the servant awoke her with the intelli- 
gence that Louise had died suddenly about two o'clock in 
the night. 

The girl's effects, including her clothes and letters (some 
of them from her lover, who still cherished affection for her), 
together with her lover's portrait, were collected together 
and placed, imtil they should be claimed by her family, not 
in the room in which she died, but in another, which 
became the bedroom of the femme-de-chambre who succeeded 
her. ^ 

As the family had frequently lost their servants through 
terror of the mysterious disturbances, they took measures to 
prevent the report of these from reaching this woman's ears. 
She heard, however, at various times, disturbing noises at 
night, and declared that on several occasions she had dis- 
tinctly seen move silently across the floor a form, her descrip- 
tion of which tallied exactly with the usual appearance of 
poor Louise, whom in life she had never seen. This appari- 
tion caused her to ask if it was not the room in which her 
predecessor had died. But being reassured on that point, 
and having boasted, when the noises first occurred, that no 
ghost could inspire her with any fear, she was ashamed of 
yielding to her wish to sleep with one of the servant-girls, 
and continued to occupy her own bedroom. 

Some five weeks after the death of Louise, and a few 

minutes after midnight, Mrs. F had ascended the stairs 

with a candle ; and, as she reached the landing, a f^im form 
flitted suddenly past from left to right — ^not so rapidly, how- 
ever, but that she could distinguish that it was transparent ; 
for she distinctly perceived through it the opposite window. 


As she passed her hands over her eyes — ^the thought flashing 
across her mind that this might be an hallucination only — 
she was startled by a violent scream as of agony from the 
bedroom of the femme-de-chambre, situated on the left of 
the stair-landing. The scream was so loud that it aroused 

the household, and Princess and others hastened with 

Mrs. F to ascertain its cause. They found the maid in 

violent convulsions ; and when, after some time, they reco- 
vered her, she declared, in accents of extreme terror, that the 
figure she had already several times seen had appeared to 
her in the most distinct form, approached the bed and bent 
over her, so that she seemed to feel its very breath and touch, 
upon which she lost consciousness and knew not what hap- 
pened further. She could not be persuaded again to sleep 
in that room ,' and the disturbances continued there after she 
left it. 

But, after a time, the young man who had been engaged to 
Louise wrote for her effects, requesting that they might be 
sent home, overland, at his expense. The new femme-de- 
chambre assisted in packing them. In taking up one of 
Louise's dresses, she dropped it in sudden terror, declaring 
that in exactly such a dress had the figure been clothed that 
bent over her when she swooned away. 

From the day these effects were taken from the room where 
they had been placed, and sent off, all noises and disturbances 
therein entirely ceased.* 

We are gradually reaching a point in this series of narra- 
tives at which it becomes very difficult to explain away the 
phenomena they embrace, or to account for these on any other 
than the spiritual hvpothesis. In the preceding example, for 
instance, what can ^i^ssibly explain the coincident visions of 

Louise's successor and Mrs. F , except the supposition of 

an objective reality ? 

We find narratives as conclusive as the above current 
throughout society — ^usually discredited by superficial com- 
mentators — sometmies justly, for many of them are apocry- 
phal enough ; sometimes, as I believe, unjustly. 

I select, as a specimen of this latter class, from among 
what are called modem ghost-stories, one which, on account 
of the rank and character of the two seers (Sir John Sher- 

* I read over the above narrative to Mrs. F— , made a few correotiona 
at her suggestion, and then she assented to its accuracy in every particular. 


broke and General Wynyard), has been as much talked of 
throughout England as perhaps any other. It was published 
in the newspapers of the day ; and the narrative, in a some- 
what difiuse form, has been preserved in at least one modem 
publication.* It is alluded to, but the initials only given, in 
Archdeacon Wrangham's edition of Plutarch, in a note thus ; 
— "A very singular story, however, could be told on this 
head by Generals S and W , both men of indisputa- 
ble honour and spirit, and honourably distinguished by their 
exertions in their country's service." It is related, in a suc- 
cinct manner, by Dr. Mayo in his work on " Popular Supersti- 
tions ;" and he accompanies it with the following voucher : — 
"I have had opportunities of inquiring of two near relations 
of General Wynyard upon what evidence the above story 
rests. They told me they had each heard it from his own 
mouth. More recently a gentleman whose accuracy of infor- 
mation exceeds that of most people, told me that he had heard 
the late Sir John Sherbroke, the other party in the ghost- 
story, tell it, much in the same way, at a dinner-table, "f The 
story is as follows: — 


In the year 1785, Sir John Sherbroke and General George 
Wynyard, then young men, were oiBcers, the former Captain 
and the latter Lieutenant, in the same regiment, namely the 
33rd, at that time commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Forke, 
and stationed at Sydney, in the island of Cape Breton, off 
Nova Scotia. 

On the 15th of October of that year, between eight and 
nine o'clock p.m., these two officers were seated before the fire 
at coffee, in Wynyard's parlour. It was a room in the new 
barracks, which had been erected the preceding summer, and 
had two doors — ^the one opening on an outer passage, the 
other into that officer's bedroom, from which bedroom there 
was no exit except by returning through the parlour. 

Sherbroke, happening to look up, saw beside the door 
which opened on the passage the figure of a tall youth, 
apparently about twenty years of age, but pale and much 
emaciated. Astonished at the presence of a stranger, Sher- 

* " Signs before Death," collected by Horace Welby, London, 1825, pp. 

t "On the Truths contained in Popular Superstitions," by Herbert Mayo, 
M.D., Professor of Anatomy and Physiology in King's College, Ac., Ac., 
3rd ed., Edmbxirgh and London, 1841, pp. 63, 64. 


broke called the attention of his brother officer, sitting near 
him, to the visitor. " I have heard," he said, in after- 
wards relating the incident, "of a man being as pale as death; 
but I never saw a living face assume the appearance of a 
corpse, except Wynyard's at Ijiat moment.'' Both remained 
silently gazing on the figure as it passed slowly through the 
room and entered the bedchamber, casting on yoimg Wyn- 
yard, as it passed, a look, as his friend thought, of melancholy 
aflFection. The oppression of its presence was no sooner re- 
moved, than Wynyard, grasping his friend's arm, exclaimed, 
in scarcely articulate tones, " Great God ! my brother !" 

"Your brother! What can you mean?" replied Sher- 
broke : " there must be some deception in this." And with 
that he instantly proceeded into the bedroom, followed by 
Wynyard. No one to be seen there ! They searched in every 
part, and convinced themselves that it was entirely untenanted, 
A brother officer. Lieutenant Ralph Gore, coming in soon 
after, joiaed iq the search, but equally without avail. Wyn- 
yard persisted in declaring that he had seen his brother's 
spirit ; but, for a time, Sherbroke inclined to the belief that 
they might have been, in some way or other, deluded, possibly 
by a trick of some brother officer. Nevertheless, at the sug- 
gestion of Lieutenant Gore, the next day Captain Sherbroke 
made a memorandum of the date ; and all waited with the- 
greatest anxiety for letters from England. 

This anxiety at last became so apparent on Wynyard's part, 
that his brother officers, in spite of his resolution to the con- 
trary, finally, won from him the confession of what he had seen. 
The story was soon bruited abroad, and produced great excite- 
ment throughout the regiment. When the expected vessel 
with letters arrived, there were none for Wynyard, but one 
for Sherbroke. As soon as that officer had opened it, he 
beckoned Wynyard from the room. Expectation was at its 
climax, especially as the two friends remained closeted for an 
hour. On Sherbroke's return the mystery was solved. It was 
a letter from a brother officer, begging Sherbroke to break to 
his friend Wjoiyard the news of the death of his favourite 
brother, who had expired on the 15th of October, and at the 
same hour at which the friends saw the apparition in the 

* The Lieutenant Gore here mentioned had, in the year 1823, attained 
the grade of lientenant-colonel, and waa then stationed in garrison at 
Quebec. On the 3rd of October of that year, a disouBsion in legard to the 


It remains to be stated that, some years afterwards, Sir John 
Sherbroke, who had never seen John Wynyard alive, and 
who had then returned to England, was walking in Picca- 
dilly, London, when, on the opposite side of the street, he 
saw a gentleman, whom he in^ntly recognised as the coun- 
terpart of the mysterious visitor. Crossing over, he accosted 
him, apologizing for his intrusion, and learned that he was 
a brother (not the tivin brother, as some accounts have it) of 

Such is the story : for the truth of which I have been for- 
tunate enough to obtain vouchers additional to those already 

Captain Henry Scott, R.N., residing at Blackheath, near 
London, and with whom I have the pleasure of being ac- 
quainted, was, about thirty years ago, when Sir John Sher- 
broke was Governor of Nova Scotia, under his command as 
Assistant Surveyor-General of that province ; and dining one 
day with Sir John, a guest remarked that an English news- 
paper, just received, had a most extraordinary ghost-story, in 
which his (Sir John's) name appeared. Thereupon Sherbroke, 
with much emotion, quickly replied, " I beg that the subject 
may not again be mentioned.'' The impression on the minds 

Wynyard apparition having arisen during a party then assembled at the 
house of the late Chief Justice Sewell, who resided on the esplanade in 
Quebec, Sir John Harvey, Adjutant- General of the forces in Canada, de- 
spatched, in writing, to Colonel Gore certain queries on the subject. That 
oflBicer replied, also in writing, on the same day, and his statements corrobo- 
rate all the particulars above given, so far as he is concerned. He adds 
that " letters from England brought the account of- John Wynyard' s death 
on the very night his brother and Sherbroke saw the apparition." The 
questions addressed to Colonel Gore and his replies, in fuU, are given in 
" Notes and Queries," for July 2, 1859, No. 183, p. 14. The colonel is there 
betrayed into a trifling inaccuracy, in speaking of Lieutenant Wynyard, in 
1785, as captain. 

* Here there is a slight but unimportant variation from Colonel Gore's 
statement. He relates the incident in substance as given above ; but says 
the person who arrested Sherbroke' s attention, and who called forth 
from him the sudden exclamation, " My God !" was a gentleman he thinks 
named Hayman, and who "was so like John Wynyard as often to be spoken 
to for him, and affected to dress like him." He adds that this sudden 
recognition converted William Wynyard (afterwards deputy adjutant- 
general), who happened at the time to be walking with Sherbroke, to a 
beUef in the " story of the ghost." 

The essential point is, that Sherbroke did meet in London, and did re- 
cognise, as the counterpart of the apparition, a person, whether brother or 
not, exactly resembling the deceased officer. And as to this all the accounts 


of all present was, that lie considered the matter too serious 
to be talked of. 

But we are not left to mere inference, suggested by this 
indirect testimony. I communicated to Captain Scott, in 
manuscript, the above narrative ; and, in returning it, that 
gentleman wrote to me, with permission to use his name, as 
follows : — 

" About six years ago, dining alone with my dear friend — 
now gone to his account — General Paul Anderson, C.B., I 
related to him the story of the Wynyard apparition, in sub- 
stance exactly as you have it. When I had finished, * It is 
extraordinary enough,' said he, ' that you have related that 
story almost verbatim as I had it from Sir John Sherbroke's 
own lips a short time before his death.'* I asked the general 
whether Sir John had expressed any opinion about the incident. 

" ' Yes,' he replied : * he assured me, in the most solemn 
manner, that he believed the appearance to have been a ghost 
ot spirit ; and added, that this belief was shared by his friend 

" General Anderson was a distinguished Peninsular War 
ofiicer, a major under Sir John Moore, and one of those who 
assisted to bury that gallant general." f 

It will not, I think, be questioned, that this evidence is as 
direct and satisfactory as can well be, short of a record left in 
writing by one or other of the seers— which it does not appear 
is to be found. A brother ofiicer, the first who entered the 
room after the apparition had been seen, testifies in writing, 
to the main facts. Sir John Sherbroke himself, when forty 
years had passed by, repeats to a brother officer his unaltered 
conviction that it was the spirit of his friend's brother J that 
appeared to them in the barracks at Sydney, and that that 
friend was as fully convinced of the fact as himself. 

Strongly corroborative, also, is the fact that so deeply im- 
printed in Sherbroke's memory were the features of the appa- 
rition, that the recollection called up, after the lapse of years, 
by the appearance of a stranger casually met in the streets of 
London, caused him to accost that stranger, who proved to be, 

* His death is noticed in " Blackwood's Magazine" for June, 1830. 

t Extracted from letter of Captain Henry Scott to me, dated January 
26, 1859. 

X The brother's name was John Otway Wynyard ; and he was at the 
time of his death, on the 15th of October, 1785, Lieutenant in the 3rd Regi- 
ment of Foot Guards. 


if not a brother, a person who strikingly resembled the 

In the following we find an example of three persons seeing 
the same apparition, though at difierent times : — 


In March of the year 1854, the Baron de Guldenstubbe 
was residing alone in apartments, at No. 23, Rue St. Lazare, 

On the 16th of that month, returning thither from an 
evening party, after midnight, he retired to rest, but finding 
himself unable to sleep, he lit a candle and began to read. 
Very soon his attention was drawn from the book by ex- 
perienciQg first one electric shock, then another, until the sen- 
sation was eight or ten times repeated. This greatly sur- 
prised him, and efiectually precluded all disposition to sleep : 
he rose, donned a warm dressing-gown, and lit a fire in the 
adjoining saloon. 

Returning a few minutes afterwards, without a candle, in 
search of a pocket-handkerchief, to the bedroom, he observed, 
by light coming through the open door of the saloon, just 
before the chimney (which was situated in a comer of the 
room, at the opposite diagonal from the entrance-door), what 
seemed like a dim column of greyish vapour, slightly lu- 
minous. It attracted his notice for a moment ; but, deem- 
ing it merely some effect of reflected light from the lamps in 
the court-yard, he thought no more of it, and re-entered the 

After a time, as the fire burned badly, he returned to the 
bedchamber to procure a fagot. This time the appearance in 
front of the fireplace arrested his attention. It reached 
nearly to the ceiling of the apartment, which was fully twelve 
feet high. Its colour had changed from grey to blue — ^that 
shade of blua which shows itself when spirits of wine are 
burned. It was also more distinctly marked, and somewhat 
more luminous than at first. As the baron gazed at it, in 
some surprise, there gradually grew into sight, within it, the 
figure of a man. The outlines at first were vague, and the 
colour blue, like the column, only of a darker shade. The 
baron looked upon it as a hallucination, but continued to 
examine it steadily from a distance of some thirteen or four- 
teen feet. 

Gradually the outlines of the figure became marked, the 


features began to assume exact form, and the whole to take 
the colours of the human flesh and dress. Finally, there stood 
within the column, and reaching about halfway to the top, 
the figure of a tall, portly old man, with a fresh colour, blue 
eyes, snow-white hair, thin white whiskers, but without beard 
or moustache ; and dressed with some care. He seemed to 
wear a white cravat and long white waistcoat, high stiff shirt 
collar, and a long black frock-coat, thrown back from his 
chest, as is the wont of corpulent people like him in hot 
weather. He appeared to lean on a heavy white cane. 

After a few minutes, the figure detached itself from the 
colimm and advanced, seeming to float slowly through the 
room, till within about three feet of its wondering occupant. 
There it stopped, put up its hand, as in form of salutation, 
and slightly bowed. 

The baron's impulse when it first approached had been to 
ring the bell. So perfectly distinct was the vision, so abso- 
lutely material seemed the figure before him, that he could 
scarcely resist the impression that some stranger (for the 
features were wholly unknown to him) had invaded his 
apartment. But the age and friendly demeanour of the 
intruder arrested his hand. Whether from this world or the 
other, there seemed nothing hostile or formidable in the 
appearance that presented itself. 

After a time, the figure moved towards the bed, which was 
to the right of the entrance-door and immediately opposite 
the fireplace ; then, turning to the left, returned to the spot 
before the fireplace, where it had first appeared, then advanced 
a second time towards the baron. And this round it continued 
to make (stopping, however, at intervals) as often as eight or 
ten times. The baron heard no sound, either of voice or 

The last time it returned to the fireplace, after facing the 
baron, it remained stationary there. By slow degrees the 
outlines lost their distinctness ; and, as the figure faded, the 
blue column gradually reformed itself, inclosing it as before. 
This time, however, it was much more lumiuous, the light 
being sufficient to enable the baron to distinguish small print, 
as he ascertained by picking up a Bible that lay on his dress- 
ing-table and reading from it a verse or two. He showed 
me the copy: it was in minion type. Very gradually the 
light faded, seeming to flicker up at intervals, like a lamp 
dying out. 

From the time the figure appeared until it began to fade^ 


mingling with the column, there elapsed about ten minutes : 
so that the witness of this remarkable apparition had the 
amplest opportunity fully to examine it. When it turned 
towards the fireplace, he distinctly saw its back. He expe- 
rienced little or no alarm, being chiefly occupied during the 
period of its stay in seeking to ascertaiu whether it was a 
mere hallucination or an objective reality. On one or two 
previous occasions during his life he had seen somewhat 
similar apparitions — ^less distinct, however, and passing away 
more rapidly; and, as they were of persons whom in life 
he had known, he had regarded them as subjective only; 
the offspring, probably, of his imagination, during an ab- 
normal state of the nervous system. 

Pondering over this matter, he went to bed, and, after a 
time, to sleep. In a dream, the same figure he had just seen 
again appeared to him, dressed exactly as before. It seamed 
reflections that had been occupying the baron's mind before 
he retired to rest ; he thought he heard it say to him, in sub- 
stance, "Hitherto you have not believed in the reality of 
apparitions, considering them only the recallings of memory : 
now, since you have seen a stranger, you cannot consider it 
the reproduction of former ideas." The baron assented, in 
dream, to this reasoning ; but the phantom gave him no clue 
as to what its name or condition in life had been. 

The next morning, meeting the wife of the concierge, 
Madame Matthieu, who had been in the habit of attending to 
his rooms, he inquired of her who had been their former 
occupant, adding that his reason for making the inquiry was, 
that the night before he had seen in his bedroom an appa- 
rition. At first the woman seemed much frightened and 
little disposed to be communicative, but, when pressed on the 
subject, she admitted that the last person who had resided in 
the apartments now occupied by the baron was the father of 
the lady who was the proprietor of the house, a certain 
Monsieur Caron, who had formerly filled the office of mayor 
in the province of Champagne. He had died about two years 
before, and the rooms had remained vacant from that time 
until taken by the baron. 

Her description of him, not only as to personal appearance, 
but in each pajl^icular of dress, corresponded in the minutest 
manner to what the baron had seen. A white waistcoat 
coming down very low, a white cravat, a long black frock- 
coat : these he habitually wore. His stature was above the 
middle height ; and he was corpulent, his eyes blue, his hair 


and whiskers wliite; aaid he wore neither beard nor mous- 
tache. His age was between sixty and seventy. Even the 
smaller peculiarities were exact, down to the high standing 
shirt-collar, the habit of throwing back his coat from his 
chest, and the thick white cane, his constant companion when 
he went out. 

Madame Matthieu further confessed to the baron that he 
was not the only one to whom the apparition of M. Caron had 
shown itself. On one occasion a maid-servant had seen it on 
the stairs. To herself it had appeared several times — once 

i'ust in front of the entrance to the saloon, again in a dimly- 
ighted passage that led past the bedroom to the kitchen beyond, 
and more than once in the bedroom itself. M. Caron had 
dropped down in the passage referred to, in an apoplectic fit, 
had been carried thence into the bedroom, and had died in the 
bed now occupied by the baron. 

She said to him, further, that, as he might have remarked, 
she almost always took the opportunity when he was in the 
saloon to arrange his bedchamber, and that she had several 
times intended to apologize to him for this, but had refrained, 
not knowing what excuse to make. The true reason was 
that she feared again to meet the apparition of the old gen- 

The matter finally came to the ears of the daughter, the 
owner of the house. She caused masses to be said for the 
soul of her father ; and it is alleged — ^how truly I know not 
— ^that the apparition has not been seen in any of the apart- 
ments since. 

This narrative I had from the Baron de Guldenstubb^ 
himself.* That gentleman stated to me that, up to the time 
when he saw the apparition, he had never heard of M. Caron, 
and of course had not the slightest idea of his personal ap- 
pearance or dress ; nor, as may be supposed, had it ever been 
intimated to him that any one had died, two years before, in 
the room in which he slept. 

The story derives much of its value from the calm and 
dispassionate manner in which the witness appears to have 
observed the succession of phenomena, and the exact details 
which, in consequence, he has been enabled to furnish. It 
is remarkable, also, as well for the electrical influences 
which preceded the appearance, as on account of the corre- 
spondence between the apparition to the baron in his wak- 

* In Paris, on the llth of May, Ift^^. 


ing state and that* subsequently seen in dream ; the first 
cognisable by one sense only — that of sight — the second ap- 
pealing (though in vision of the night only) to the hearing also. 
The coincidences as to personal peculiarities and details of 
dress are too numerous and minutely exact to be fortuitous, let 
us adopt what theory, in explanation, we may. 

This series of narratives would be incomplete without some 
examples of those stories of a tragic cast, seeming to intimate 
that the foul deeds committed in this world may call back the 
criminal, or the victim, from another. 

A very extraordinary sample of such stories is given in the 
Memoirs of Sir Nathaniel Wraxall, a man of some distinc- 
tion in his day, and from 1780 to 1794 a member of the 
British Parliament. It was related to Sir Nathaniel, when 
on a visit to Dresden, by the Count de Felkesheim. Of him 
Wraxall says, " He was a Livonian gentleman, settled ia 
Saxony ; of a very improved understanding, equally superior 
to credulity as to superstition." The conversation occurred 
in October, 1778. 

After alluding to the celebrated exhibition, by Schrepfer, 
of the apparition of the Chevalier de Saxe, and expressing 
his opinion that " though he could not pretend to explain by 
what process or machinery that business was conducted, yet 
he had always considered Schrepfer as an artful impostor," 
the count proceeded to say that he was not so decidedly 
sceptical as to the possibility of apparitions as to treat them 
with ridicule or set them down as unphilosophical. Educated 
in the University of Konigsberg, he had attended the lectures 
on ethics and moral philosophy of a certain professor there, a 
very superior man, but who, although an ecclesiastic, was 
suspected of pecuKar opinions on religious subjects. In 
effect, when, during his course, the professor touched on the 
doctrine of a future state, his language betrayed so visible an 
embarrassment that the count, his curiosity excited, ventured 
privately to broach the subject to his teacher, entreating him 
to say whether he had held back anything that dwelt on his 

The reply of the professor was embodied in the following 
strange story : — 


**The hesitation which you noticed," said he, '^resulted 

from the conflict which takea place within me when I am 

attempting to convey my ideas on a subject where my under- 


standing is at variance with the testimony of my senses. I 
am, equally from reason and reflection, disposed to consider 
with incredulity and contempt the existence of apparitions. 
But an appearance which I have witnessed with my o^^n eyes, 
as far as they or any of the perceptions can be confided in, 
and which has even received a sort of subsequent confirmation 
from other circumstances connected with the origtaal facts, 
leaves me in that state of scepticism and suspense which per- 
vaded my discourse. I will communicate to you its cause. 

" Having been brought up to the profession of the church, I 
was presented by Frederick William the First, late King of 
Prussia, to a small benefice, situated in the interior of the 
country, at a considerable distance south of Konigsberg. I 
repaired thither in order to take possession of my Kving, and 
found a neat parsonage-house, where I passed tne night in a 
bedchamber which had been occupied by my predecessor. 

" It was in the longest days of simamer ; and on the following 
morning, which was Sunday, while lying awake, the curtains 
of the bed beiQg undrawn, and it being broad daylight, I beheld 
the figure of a man, habited in a loose gown, standing at a sort 
of reading-desk, on which lay a large book, the leaves of which 
he seemed to turn over at intervals. On each side of him 
stood a little boy, in whose face he looked earnestly from 
time to time ; and as he looked, he seemed always to heave a 
deep sigh. His countenance, pale and disconsolate, indicated 
some distress of mind. I had the most perfect view of these ob- 
jects ; but, being impressed with too much terror and apprehen- , 
sion to rise or to address myself to the appearances before me, 
I remained for some minutes a breathless and silent spectator, 
without uttering a word or alteriag my position. At length 
the man closed the book, and then, taking the two . children, 
one in each hand, he led them slowly across the room. My 
eyes eagerly followed him till the three figures gradually dis- 
appeared, or were lost, behind an iron stove which stood at the 
furthest comer of the apartment. 

" However deeply and awfully I was affected by the sight 
which I had witnessed, and however incapable I was of ex- 
plaining it to my own satisfaction, yet I recovered sufficiently 
the possession of my mind to get up ; and, having hastily 
dressed myself, I left the house. The sun was long risen ; 
and, directing my ste^s to the church, I found that it was 
open, though the sexton had quitted it. On entering the 
chancel, my mind and imagination were so strongly impressed 
by the scene which had recently passed, that I endeavoured 
to dissipate the recollection by considering th© oVs^esi^a «xwxsA 


me. In almost all Lutheran churclies of the Prussian domi- 
nions it is the custom to hang up against the walls, or some 
part of the building, the portraits of the successive pastors or 
clergymen who have held the living. A number of these 
paintings, rudely performed, were suspended in one of the 
aisles ; but I had no sooner fixed my eyes on the last in the range, 
which was the portrait of my immediate precfecessor, than they 
became riveted on the object ; for I instantly recognised the 
same face which I had beheld in my bedchamber, though 
not clouded by the same deep impression of melancholy and 

"The sexton entered as I was still contemplating this 
interesting head, and I immediately began a conversation 
with him on the subject of the persons who had preceded me 
in the living. He remembered several incumbents, concern- 
ing whom, respectively, I made various inquiries, till I 
concluded by the last, relative to whose history I was particu- 
larly inquisitive. * We considered him,' said the sexton, * as 
one of the most learned and amiable men who have ever 
resided among us. His character and benevolence endeared 
him to all his parishioners, who will long lament his loss. 
But he was carried off in the middle of his days by a lingering 
illness, the cause of which has given rise to many unpleasant 
reports among us, and which still form matter of conjecture. 
It is, hoVever, commonly believed that he died of a broken 

"My curiosity being still more warmly excited by the 
mention of this circumstance, I eagerly pressed him to disclose 
to me all he knew, or had heard, on the subject. * Nothing 
respecting it,' answered he, * is absolutely known ; but scandal 
has propagated a story of his having formed a criminal con- 
nection with a young woman of the neighbourhood, by whom, 
it was even asserted, he had two sons. As confirmation of 
the report, I know that there certainly were two children who 
have been seen at the parsonage — ^boys of about four or five 
years old ; but they suddenly disappeared some time- before 
the decease of their supposed father ; though to what place 
they were sent, or what is become of them, we are wholly 
ignorant. It is equally certain that the surmises and un- 
favourable opinions formed respecting this mysterious business, 
which must necessarily have reached hfta, precipitated, if they 
did not produce, the disorder of which our late pastor died : 
but he is gone to his accoimt and we are bound to think 
charitably of the departed.' 
^^It is unnecessary to Bay Vifti -^Taa.t emotion I listened to 


tliis relation, wluch. recalled to my imagination, and seemed 
to give proof of the existence of, all that I had seen. Yet, 
unwilling to suffer my mind to become enslaved by phantoms 
which might have been the effect of error or deception, I 
neither communicated to the sexton the circumstances which 
I had witnessed, nor even permitted myself to quit the 
chamber where it had taken place. I continued to lodge 
there, without ever witnessing any similar apptsarance ; and the 
recollection itself began to wear away as the autumn advanced. 

" When the approach of winter made it necessary to light 
fires throughout the house, I ordered the iron stove which 
stood in the room, and behind which the figure which I had 
beheld, together with the two boys, seemed to disappear, to 
be heated, for the purpose of warming the apartment. Some 
difiiculty was experienced in making the attempt, the stove 
not only smoking intolerably, but emitting an oflensive smell. 
Having, therefore, sent for a blacksmith to inspect and 
repair it, he discovered, in the inside, at the fiirthest extre- 
mity, the bones of two small human bodies, corresponding in 
size with the description given me by the sexton of the two 
boys who had been seen at the parsonage- 

" This last circumstance completed my astonishment, and 
appeared to confer a sort of reality on an appearance which 
might otherwise have been considered as a delusion of the 
senses. I resigned the living, quitted the place, and retired 
to Konigsberg ; but it has produced on my mind the deepest 
impression, and has, in its effect, given rise to that uncertamty 
and contradiction of sentiment which you remarked in my 
late discourse.''* 

Wraxall adds, " Such was Count Felkesheim's story, which, 
from its singularity, appeared to me deserving of commemo- 
ration, in whatever contempt we may hold similar anecdotes.'' 

If this narrative, and the intimations it conveys, may be 
trusted to, what a glimpse do these display of a species of 
future punishment speedy and inevitable ! — inevitable so long 
as wickedness inheres in wicked deeds, unless conscience dies 
with the body. But conscience is an attribute of the immortal 
spirit, not of the perishable frame. And if, in very truth, 
from the world beyond it drags down the evil-doer to the 
earthly scene of his misdeeds, how false is our phrase, when, 
in speaking of a murderer who has eluded justice, we say he 

* " Historical Memoirs of my Own Time," "by Sir N. William Wraxall, 
Bart., London, 1815, p. 218 to 226. 


has escaped pimislmieiit ! His deed dies not. Even if no 
vengeful arm of an offended Deity requite the wrong, the 
wrong may requite itself. Even in the case of some hardened 
criminal, when the soul, dulled to dogged carelessness during 
its connexion with an obtuse and degraded physical organiza- 
tion, remains impervious, while lite lasts, to the stings of 
conscience, death, removing the hard shell, may expose to 
sensitiveness and to suffering the disengaged spirit. 

There are intimations, however, somewhat similar in general 
character to the above, which seem to teach us that even in 
the next world rej^ntance, by its regenerating influence, may 
gradually change the character and the condition of the 
criminal ; and I shall not be deterred from bringing forward 
an example, in illustration, by the fear of being charged with 
Roman Catholic leanings. Eclecticism is true philosophy. 

The example to which I refer is one adduced and vouched 
for by Dr. Kemer, and to which, in part, he could testify 
from personal observation. It is the history of the same 
apparition, already briefly alluded to,* as one, the appearance 
of which to Madame Hauffe was uniformly heraldod by 
knockings, or rappings, audible to all. I entitle it 

THE child's bones FOUND. 

The apparition first presented itself to Madame Hauffe 
during the winter of 1824-25, one morning at nine o'clock, 
while she was at her devotions. It was that of a swarthy 
man of small stature, his head somewhat drooping, his coun- 
tenance wrinkled as with age, clad in a dark monk's fipock. 
He looked hard at her, in silence. She experienced a shudder- 
ing sensation as she returned his gaze, and hastily left the 

The next day, and almost daily during an entire year, the 
figure returned, usually appearing at seven o'clock in the 
evening, which was Madame Haune's wonted hour of prayer. 
On his second appearance he spoke to her, saying he had 
come to her for comfort and instruction. "Treat me as a 
child," he said, "and teach me religion." With especial 
entreaty, he begged of her that she would pray with him. 
Subsequently he confessed to her that he had the burden of a 
murder and of other grievous sins on his soul ; that he had 
wandered restlessly for long years, and had never yet been 
able to address himself to prayer. 

* See Book III. chap. 2, " The Seeress of Prevorst." The oircumstanoes, 
as already stated, occnrred near Ldwenstein, in the kingdom of Wnrtembei^. 
Dr, Kemer and the seereBB and lier &.T(uiVy Nvet^ Pxotestants. 


She complied with his request; and from lime to time 
throughout the long period that he continued to appear to her 
she instructed him in rehgious matters, and he joined with 
her in her devotions. 

One evening, at the usual hour, there appeared with him 
the figure of a woman, tall and meagre, bearing in her arms 
a child that seemed to have just died. She Imeeled down 
with him, and prayed also. This female figure had once 
before appeared to the seeress ; and her coming was usually 
preceded by sounds similar to those obtained from a steel 

Sometimes she saw the man's figure during her walks 
abroad. It seemed to glide before her. On one occasion she 
had been on a visit to Gronau with her parents and her 
brothers and sisters; and ere she reached home the clock 
struck seven. Of a sudden she began to run ; and when they 
hastened after her to inquire the cause, she exclaimed, " The 
spirit is gliding before and entreating my prayers.*' As they 
passed hastily along, the family distinctly heard a clapping, 
as of hands, seeming to come from the air before them ; 
sometimes it was a knocking, as on the walls of the houses 
which they happened to pass. When they reached home, a 
clapping of hands soimded before them as they ascended the 
stairs. The seeress hastened to her chamber ; and there, as 
if on bended knees, the spirit prayed with her as usual. 

The longer she conversed with him, and the oftener he 
came for prayer, the lighter and more cheerM and friendly 
did his countenance become. When their devotions were 
over, he was wont to say, " Now the sun rises ! " or, " Now 
I feel the sun shining within me ! '* 

One day she asked him whether he could hear other persons 
speak as well as herself. " I can hear them through you," 
was his reply. *' How so P" she inquired. And he answered, 
" Because when you hear others speak you think of what you 
hear ; and I can read your thoughts.'' 

It was observed that as often as this spirit appeared, a black 
terrier that was kept in the house seemed to be sensible of its 
presence; for no sooner was the figure perceptible to the 
seeress than the dog ran, as if for protection, to some one 
present, often howling loudlv ; and after his first sight of it he 
would never remain alone of nights. 

One night this apparition presented itself to Madame HauflFe, 
and said, "I shall not come to you for a week; for your 
guardian spirit is occupied elsewhere. Something important 


is about to happen in your family : you will hear of it next 

This was repeated by Madame Hauffe to her family the 
next morning. Wednesday came, and with it a letter inform- 
ing them that the seeress's grandfather, of whose illness they 
had not even been previously informed, was dead. The appa- 
rition did not show itself again till the end of the week. 

The " guardian spirit " spoken of by the apparition fre- 
quently appeared to the seeress, in the form of her grand- 
mother, the deceased wife of him who had just died, and 
alleged that it was her grandmother's spirit, and that it 
constantly watched over her. When the spirit of the self- 
confessed murderer re-appeared, after the intermission of a 
week, she asked him why ner guardian spirit had deserted her 
in these last days. To which he replied, " Because she was 
occupied by the dying-bed of the recently deceased." He 
added, " I have advanced so far that I saw the spirit of your 
relative soon after his death enter a beautiful vafley. I shall 
soon be allowed to enter it mvself." 

Madame Hauffe's mother never saw the apparition, nor did 
her sister. But both, at the times when the spirit appeared to 
the seeress, frequently felt the sensation as of a breeze blowing 
upon them. 

A friend of the family, a certain forest-ranger, named 
Boheim, would not believe in the apparition, and wished to 
be present with Madame Hauffe at the usual hour when it 
came. He and she were alone in the room. When a few 
minutes had elapsed, they heard the customary rappiugs, and, 
shortly after, the sound as of a body falling. They entered, 
' and found Boheim in a swoon on the floor. When he re- 
covered, he told them that, soon after the rappings com- 
menced, there formed itself, in the comer against the wall, a 
grey cloud ; that this cloud gradually approached the seeress 
and himself ; and when it came quite near it assumed human 
form. It was between him and the door, so as, apparently, to 
bar egress. He had returned to consciousness when aid 
arrived, and he was astonished to see persons pass through 
the figure without seeming to notice it. 

At the expiration of about a year from the time of its first 
appearance — ^namely, on the evening of the 6th of Januiary, 
1826 — ^the spirit said to the seeress, " I shall soon leave you 
altogether." And he thanked her for all the aid and instruc- 
tion she had given him, and for her prayers. The next day 
(January 6, the day her child was christened) he appeared to 
ber for the last time, A aervaxit-^l -^Ivo was with the 


seeress at the moment saw and heard (to her astonishment) 
the door open and close ; but it was the seeress alone who saw 
the apparition enter ; and she said nothing to the girl about it. 

Afterwards, at the christening, Madame Hauffe's father 
distinctly perceived the same figure, looking bright and plea- 
sant. And going presently into an ante-chamber, he also 
saw the apparition of the tall, thin, melancholy woman, with 
the child on her arm. After this day neither of the figures 
ever appeared to the seeress. 

But the fact most strikingly corroborative of all remains to 
be told. At the instigation of the seeress, they dug, at a spot 
designated by her, in a yard at the back of the house, near the 
kitchen, and there, at a considerable depth, they faund the 
skeleton and other remains of a small child* 

A single narrative is insufficient proof of a novel theory ; 
and by many the theory will be deemed novel which assumes 
that tne hope of improvement dies not with the body ; that 
beyond the tomb, as on this side of it, progress is tne great 
ruling principle, and that not only may we occasionally re- 
ceive communications from the denizens of another world, 
but, imder certain circumstances, may sometimes impart to 
them comfort and instruction in return. 

I do not find, however, either from analogy, in Scripture, 
or elsewhere, any presumptive evidence going to disprove 
such a hypothesis, t The narrative, so far as it goes, sustains 
it. All that can be said is, that other coinciding proofs are 
needed before it can be rationally alleged that we have ob- 
tained such an aggregation of evidence as may be pronounced 

It is none the less to be conceded that Kemer's story bears 
strong marks of authenticity. The good faith of the author 

* " Die Seherin von Prevorst," by JnBtinnB Kemer, 4th edition, Stuttgart 
and Tubingen, 1846, pp. 367 to 374. 

t In a subsequent chapter (on the Change at Death) I shall have occasion 
to speak of the doctrine — vaguely conceived by the ancients, adopted in 
somewhat more definite form by the Jews, and universally received by early 
Christians — of what is commoidy called a mediate state after death — a state 
ithere instruction may stiU be received, where repentance may still do its 
work, and where the errors of the present life may be corrected in a life to come. 

Several of the early Christian Fathers held to the opinion that the gospel 
was preached, both by Christ and his apostles, to the dead as well as to the 
living: among them, Origen and Clement of Alexandria. The latter ex- 
claims, " What ! do not the Scriptures manifest that the Lord preached the 
gospel to those who perished in the Deluge, or rather to such as had been 
bound, and to those in prison and in custody ? It has been shown to me 
that the apostles, in imitation of the Lord, pTeaAhedt\iQ ^os^g^X^^Ocka^^'-vsv 
Hades.'' — Quoted bjr Sears, Foreglea/ms of iTrvmortdUiy , ip. ^&^. 


has scarcely been questioned even by his opponents. His 
opportunities for observation were almost without precedent. 
" I visited Madame Hauffe, as physician," he tells us, " pro- 
bably three thousand times. I frequently remained by her 
sick-bed hours at a time ; I knew her surroimdings bett^ 
than she did herself ; and I took unspeakable pains to follow 
up every rumour or suggestion of trickery, without ever de- 
tecting the slightest trace of any deception."* 

It is to be remarked, also, that in this example there are 
many strongly corroborative circumstances, beyond the per- 
ceptions of the seeress — the knockings and clappings, heard 
by aU ; the cool breeze felt by her mother and sister ; the 
terror of the doe: ; the fulfilment of the prophecy, commxini- 
cated beforehand to her family, in connecLn ■witt the grand- 
father's death. Add to this that the same apparition was seen, at 
different times, by three persons — ^by Madame Hauffe, by her 
father, and by Herr Boheim. Names, dates, places, every 
minute incident is given. The narrative was published, on 
the spot, at the time. Sixteen years afterwards, on the issiung 
of the fourth edition of his work. Dr. Kemer reiterates in the 
most solemn manner his conviction of its truth. 

It is in vain to assert that we ought to pass lightly by such 
testimony as this. 

In the two preceding narratives, the incidents of which 
seem to indicate the return of the evil-doer's spirit to the 
scene of his evil deed, the deed was one of the greatest of 
earthly crimes — ^murder. But we may find examples where 
the prompting motive of return appears to be a mere short- 
coming of the most trivial character. Such an one is given by 
Dr. Binns, in his " Anatomy of Sleep." It was communi- 
cated by the Rev. Charles McKay, a Catholic priest, then 
resident in Scotland, in a letter addressed by him to the 
Countess of Shrewsbury, dated Perth, October 21, 1842. 
This letter was commimicated by the earl to Dr. Binns, who 
pubKshes it entire, adding that "perhaps there is not a 
better-authenticated case on record." I extract it from the 
letter, as follows : — 


" In July, 1838, I left Edinburgh, to take charge of the 
Perthshire missions. On my arrival in Perth/ the principal 

* " Seherin von Prevorst " p. Z2A. TVife cso^nxQ "work will well repay a 
careful perusal. 


station, I was called upon by a Presbyterian woman (Anne 
Simpson by name), who for more than a week had been in the 
utmost anxiety to see a priest. On asking her what she 
wanted with me, she answered, ' Oh, sir, I have been terribly 
troubled for several nights by a person appearing to me dur- 
ing the night/ *Are you a Catholic, my good woman?' 

* No, sir : I am a Presbyterian/ * Why, then, do you come 
to me? I am a Catholic priest.' 'But, sir, she (meaning 
the person that had appeared to her) desired me to go to the 
priest, and I have been inquiring for a priest during the last 
week.' * Why did she wish you to go to the priest ?' * She 
said she owed a sum of money, and the priest woidd pay it.' 

* What was the sum of money she owed ?' * Three-and-ten- 
pence, sir.' * To whom did she owe it ?' * I do not know, sir.' 

* Are you sure you have not been dreaming ?' * Oh, God for^ 
give you ! for she appears to me every night. I can get no 
rest.' *Did you know the woman you say appears to you ?' 

* I was poorly lodged, sir, near the barracks, and I often saw 
and spoke to her as she went in and out to the barracks ; and 
she called herself Maloy.' 

" I made inquiry, and foimd that a woman of that name 
had died who had acted as washerwoman and followed the 
regiment. Following up the inquiry^ I found a grocer with 
whom she had dealt, and, on asking him if a person, a female, 
named Maloy, owed him anything, he turned up his books, 
and told me she did owe him three-and-tenpence. I paid the 
sum. The grocer knew nothing of her death, nor, indeed, of 
her character, but that she was attached to the barracks. 
Subsequently the Presbyterian woman came to me, saying 
that she was no more troubled."* 

It is not a plausible supposition, in this case, that for so 
paltry a simi a tradesman should concert with an old woman 
(she was past seventy years of age) to trump up a story of an 
apparition and impose on the good nature and credidity of a 
priest. Had it been such a trick, too, it is scarcely supposable 
that the woman should not have mentioned the grocer's name, 
but should have left the reverend gentleman to grope after 
the creditor as he best might. 

If the whole was related in good faith, the indication seems 
to be that human character may be but little altered by the 
death-change — sometimes preserving in another state of ex- 
istence not only trifling recollections, but trivial cares. 

* "Anatomy of Sleep;' by Edward BlimB^'ML."D.,Y^.^'i^^^^' 


Some narratives appear to favour the supposition that not 
the criminal only, but the victim of his crime, may, at times, 
be attracted in spirit to the earthly scene of suffering. The 
Hydesville story may have been an example of this. While 
in Paris, in the spring of 1859, I obtained what appears to be 
another. The narrative was communicated to me by a clergy- 
man of the Church of England, the Rev. Dr. , Chaplain 

to the British Legation at , Having heard from a 

brother clergyman something of the^ story, I asked, by letter, 
to be favoured with it, stating, in general terms, the purpose 
of my work. The request was kindly complied with, and pro- 
duced an interesting contribution to this branch of the subject. 


In the year 185— I was staying, with my wife and 

children, at the favourite watering-place . In order to 

attend to some affairs of my own, I determined to leave my 
family there for three or four days. Accordingly, on the — ^tn 
of August, I took the railway, and arrived that evening, an 

unexpected guest, at Hall, the residence of a gentleman 

whose acquaintance I had recently made, and with whom my 
sister was then staying. 

" I arrived late, soon afterwards went to bed, and before 
long fell asleep. Awaking after three or four hours, I was 
not surprised to find I could deep no more ; for I never rest 
weU in a strange bed. After trying, therefore, in vain again 
to induce sleep, I began to arrange my plans for the day. 

" I had been engaged some little time in this way, when I 
became suddenly sensible that there was a light in the room. 
Turning round, I distinctly perceived a female figure ; and 
what attracted my special attention was, that the light by 
which I saw it emanated from itself. I watched the figure 
attentively. The features were not perceptible. After mov- 
ing a little distance, it disappeared as suddenly as it had 

" My first thoughts were that there was some trick- I 
immediately got out of bed, struck a Kght, and found my 
bedroom-door stiU locked. I then carefully examined the 
walls, to ascertain if there were any other concealed means of 
entrance or exit ; but none could I find. I drew the curtains 
and opened the shutters ; but all outside was silent and dark, 
there being no moonlight. 

''After examining the room well in every part, I betook 
myself to bed and thouglit caSmJL^ oNet Aii^fc ^hole matter. 


Tlie final Impression on my mind was, that I had seen some- 
thing supernatural, and, if supernatural, that it was in some 
way connected with mj wife. What was the appearance? 
Wnat did it mean P W oidd it have appeared to me if I had 
been asleep instead of awake? These were questions very- 
easy to ask and very difficidt to answer. 

" Even if iny room door had been unlocked, or if there had 
been a concealed entrance to the room, a practical joke was 
out of the question. For, in the first place, I waa not on such 
intimate terms with my host as to warrant such a liberty ; 
and, secondly, even if he had been inclined to sanction 
so questionable a proceeding, he was too unwell at the 
time to permit me for a moment' to entertain such a suppo- 

" In doubt and uncertainty I passed the rest of the night ; 
and in the morning, descenoing early, I immediately told my 
sister what had occurred, describing to her accurately every 
thing connected with the appearance I had witnessed. She 
seemed much struck with what I told her, and repKed, * It is 
very odd ; for you have heard, I dare say, that a lady was, 
some years ago, murdered in this house ; but it was not in 
the room you slept in.' I answered, that I had never heard 
anything of the kind, and was beginning to make fiirther 
inquiries about the murder, when I w^ interrupted by the 
entrance of our host and hostess, and afterwards by breakfast. 

" After breakfast I left, without having had any opportu- 
nity of renewing the conversation. But the whole affair had 
made upon me an impression which I sought in vain to shake 
off. The female figure was ev6r before my mind's eye, and I 
became fidgety and anxious about my wife. ' Coidd it in any 
way be connected with her ?' was my constantly recurring 
thought. So much did this weigh on my mind that, instead 
of attending to the business for the express purpose of trans- 
acting which I had left my family, I returned to them by the 
first train ; and it was only when I saw my wife and children 
in good health, and everything safe and well in my house- 
hold, that I felt satisfied that, whatever the nature of the 
appearance might have been, it was not connected with any 
evil to (hem. 

" On the Wednesday following, I received a letter from my 
sister, in which she iiaformed me that, since I left, she had 
ascertained that the murder was committed in the very room 
in which I had slept. She added that she purposed visiting 
us next day, and that she would like me to write o\Lt ^\^. 
account of what I had seen, together m^ a p^iL oi ^^ x^^wta.^ 


and that on that plan she wished me to mark the place of the 
appearance, and of the disappearance, of the figure. 

" This I immediately did ; and the next day, when my 
sister arrived, she askeii me if I had complied with her re- 
quest. I replied, pointing to the drawing-room table, * Yes : 
there is the account and the plan.' As she rose to examine 
it, I prevented her, sayiug, * Do not look at it imtil you have 
told me all you have to say, because you might uninten- 
tionally colour your story by what you may read there.' 

" Thereupon she informed me that she had had the carpet 
taken up in the room I had occupied, and that the marks of 
blood from the murdered person were there, plainly visible, 
on a particular part of the floor. At my request she also then 
drew a plan of the room, and marked upon it the spots which 
still bore traces of blood. 

" The two plans — ^my sister's and mine — ^were then com- 
pared, and we verified the most remarkable fact, that the places 
she had marked as the beginning and ending of the traces of 
blood coincided exactly with the spots marked on my plan as 
those on which the female figure had appeared and disap- 

" I am imable to add anything to this plain statement of 
facts. I cannot accoimt, in any way, for what I saw. I am 
convinced no human being entered ^y chamber that night ; 
yet I know that, being wide awake and in good health, I did 
distinctly see a female figure in my room. But if, as I must 
believe, it was a supernatural appearance, then I am unable 
to suggest any reason why it should have appeared to me. I 
cannot teU whether, if I had not been in the room, or had 
been asleep at the time, that figure would equally have been 
there. As it was, it seemed connected with no warning nor 
presage. No misfortime of any kind happened then, or since, 
to me or mine. It is true that the host, at whose house I 
was staying when this incident occurred, and also one of his 
children, died a few months afterwards ; but I cannot pre- 
* tend to make out , any connection between either of these 
deaths and the appearance I witnessed. The ^ cui bono,' 
therefore, I do not attempt to explain. But what I distinctly 
saw, that, and that only, I describe."* 

In this case, the narrative bears testimony to accuracy and 

* Comintmicated to me, under date April 25, 1859, in a letter torn the 

Rev. Dr. , who informs me that the relation is in the very 'words, so 

&r as his memory serves, in which the narrator, his brother, repeated it to 
him. Tbongh not at liberty to print the reverend gentleman's name, he has 
permitted me to furnish it privateVy in asiy coiAe m yrhioh it might serve the 
cause to advance whicli these pagea "have "been -written.. 


dispassionate coolness in the observer. It is one of those 
examples, also, which give support to the opinion that such 
phenomena sometimes present themselves without any special 
purpose, so far as we can discover. Moreover, it is evident 
that sufficient precautions were taken to prevent the possi- 
bility of suggestion becoming the cause of the coincidence 
between the two plans of the room — ^that executed by the 
brother and that afterwards drawn by the sister. They were, 
clearly, made out qidte independently of each other. And if so, 
to what can we ascribe the coincidence they exhibited P Evi- 
dently, not to chance. 

In the preceding cases, the attraction to earth seems to have 
been of a painful nature. But a more frequent and influen- 
tial motive seems to be that great principle of human love, 
which even in this world, cold though it be, is the most 
powerfiil incentive to virtue, and which in another will doubt- 
less assert far more supremely its genial sway. It may be 
the aflfection of remote kindred, apparently evinced by some 
ancestor, or the stronger love of brother to sister, of parent to 
child, of husband to wife. Of the last an example will be 
found in the following narrative, for which I am indebted to 
the kindness of London friends ; and though, in accordance 
with the wishes of the family, some of the names are initial- 
ized only, they are aU known to myself. Of the good faith of 
the narrators there cannot be a doubt. 


In the month of September, 1867, Captain G W- 

of the 6th (InniskiUing) Dragoons, went out to India to join 
his regiment. 

His wife remained in England, residing at Cambridge. On 
the night between the 14th and 15th of November, 1857, 
towards morning, she dreamed that she saw her husband, 
looking anxious and ill — ^upon which she immediately awoke, 
much agitated. It was bright moonlight ; and, looking up, 
she perceived the same figure standing by her bedside. He 
appeared in his uniform, the hands pressed across the breast, 
the hair dishevelled, the face very pale. His large dark eyes 
were fixed full upon her ; their expression was that of great 
excitement, and there was a peculiar contraction of the mouth, 
habitual to him when agitated. She saw him, even to each 
minute particular of his dress, as distinctly as she had ever 
done in her life ; and she remembers to have i\.ot\c^\ifeV^^^e^ 
his hands the white of the shirt-bosom, 'vme\.am<^,V<3^«^^'^'i 


with blood. The figure seemed to bend forward, as if in pain, 
and to make an effort to speak ; but there was no sound. It 
remained visible, the wife thinks, as long as a minute, and 
then disappeared. 

Her first idea was to ascertain if she was actually awake. 
She rubbed her eyes with the sheet, and felt that the touch 
was real. Her little nephew was in bed with her : she bent 
over the sleeping child and listened to its breathing ; the 
sound was distinct ; and she became convinced that what she 
had seen was no dream. It need hardly be added, that she 
did not again go to sleep that night. 

Next morning she related all this to her mother, express- 
ing her conviction, though she had noticed no marks of 

blood on his dress, that Captain W was either killed or 

grievously wounded. So nilly impressed was she with the 
reality of that apparition that she thenceforth refused all in- 
vitations. A young friend urged her, soon afterwards, to go 
with her to a fashionable concert, reminding her that she had 
received from Malta, sent by her husband, a handsome dress- 
cloak, which she had never yet worn. But she positively 
declined, declaring that, uncertain as she was whether she 
was not already a widow, she would never enter a place of 
amusement until she had letters from her husband (if, indeed, 
he still lived) of later date than the 14th of November. 

It was on a Tuesday in the month of December, 1867, that 

the telegram regarding the actual fate of Captain W was 

pubKshed in London. It was to the effect that he was killed 
before Lucknow on the fifteenth of November. 

This news, given in the morning paper, attracted the atten- 
tion of Mr. Wilkinson, a London solicitor, who had in charge 
Captain W 's affairs. When at a later period this gentle- 
man met the widow, she informed him that she had been 
qidte prepared for the melancholy news, but that she felt sure 
her husband could not have been killed on the 15th of 
November, inasmuch as it was during the night between the 
14th and 16th that he appeared to herself.* 

The certificate from the War Ofiice, however, which it 
became Mr. Wilkinson's duty to obtain, confirmed the date 
given in the telegram ; its tenor being as follows : — 


* ThQ difference of longitude between London and Lncknow being about 

five tours, three or four o*clock a.m. in London would be eigbt or nine 

o'clock A.M. at Lucknow. But it was in the c^ftemoon^ not in the morning, 

as will be seen in the sequel, that Captain W-— « was killed. Had he fallen 

OB the J 5th, therefore, the apparition to his wife would have appeared 

several hours before the engftgement \n iv\d.c^ l[i<b ML^ and while he was yet 

^Uve and welL 


u^o^fH "WaeOpfice, 

I ' "30th January, 1868. 

"These are to certify that it appears, by the records in 

this office, that Captain G W , of the 6th Dragoon 

Guards, was killed in action on the 15th of November, 1857.* 

(Signed) "B. Hawes." 

While Mr. Wilkinson's mind remained in uncertainty as 
to the exact date, a remarkable incident occurred, which 
seemed to cast further suspicion on the accuracy of the tele- 
gram and of the certificate. That gentleman was visiting a 
mend, whose lady has all her life had perception of appari- 
tions, while her husband is what is usually called an im- 
pressible medium ; facts which are known, however, only to 
their intimate friends. Though personally acquainted with 
them, I am not at liberty to give their names. Let us call 
them Mr. and Mrs. N . 

Mr. Wilkinson related to them, as a^ wonderfiil circtmi- 
stance, the vision of the captain's widow in connection with 
his death, and described the figure as it had appeared to her. 

Mrs. N , turning to her husband, instantly said, " That 

must be the very person I saw, the evening we were talking 
of India, and you drew an elephant, with a howdah on his 
back. Mr. W ilkinson has described his exact position and 
appearance ; the uniform of a British officer, his hands 
pressed across his breast, his form bent forward as if in pain. 

The figure," she added to Mr. W , " appeared just behind 

my husband, and seemed looking over his left shoidder." 

" Did you attempt to obtain any communication from him?" 
Mr. Wilkinson asked. 

"Yes : we procured one through the medium of my husband." 

" Do you remember its purport ?" 

" It was to the effect that he had been killed in India that 
afternoon, by a wound in the breast ; and adding, as I dis- 
tinctly remember, ^ That thing I used to go about in is not 
buried yet.' I particularly remarked the expression." 

" When did this happen ?" 

" About nine o'clock in the evening, several weeks ago ; 
but I do not recollect the exact date." 

" Can you not call to mind something that might enable 
you to fix the precise day ?" 

Mrs. N reflected. " I remember nothing," she said, 

* Into this certificate, of which 1 possess the original, an error has crept. 

Gapt. G W was of the 6th (Inniskilling) D^goowfi^uQt ^t \}Qa ^*<5a. 

Dr^foon Guards, 



at last, " except that wliile my husband was drawing, and I 
was talking to a lady friend who had called to see ns, we 
were interrupted by a servant bringing in a bill for some 
German vinegar, and that, as I recommended it as being 
superior to English, we had a bottle brought in for inspec- 

Did you pay the bill at the time ?" 

Yes : I sent out the money by the servant." 

" Was the bill receipted P' 

" I think so ; but I have it up-stairs, and can soon ascertain." 

Mrs. N produced the bill. Its receipt bore date the 

fourteenth of November ! 

This confirmation of the widow's conviction as to the day 
of her husband's death produced so much impression on Mr. 
Wilkinson, that he called at the ofiice of Messrs. Cox and 
Greenwood, the army agents, to ascertain if there was no 
mistake in the certificate. But nothing there appeared to 

confirm any surmise of inaccuracy. Captain W 's death 

was mentioned in two separate despatches of Sir Colin 
Campbell ; and in both the date corresponded with that given 
in the telegram. 

So matters rested, until, in the month of March, 1868, the 

family of Captain W received from Captain G 

C- , then of the Military Train, a letter dated near Luck- 
now, on the 19th of December, 1857. This letter informed 

them that Captain W had been killed before Lucknow, 

while gallantly leading on the squadron, not on the 15th of 
November, as reported in Sir Colin Campbell's despatches, 

but on the fourteenth^ in the afternoon. Captain C was 

riding close by his side at the time he saw hrm fall. He was 
struck by a fragment of shell in the breast, and never spoke 
after he was hit. He was buried at the Dilkoosha ; and on a 

wooden cross, erected by his friend. Lieutenant R of the 

9th Lancers, at the head of his grave, are cut the initials G. 
W. and the date of his death, the 14th of November, 1859.* 

The War Office finally made the correction as to the date 
of death, but not imtil more than a year after the event 
occurred. Mr. Wilkinson, having occasion to apply for an 
additional copy of the certificate in April, 1857, foimd it in 

* It was not in his own regiment, which was then at Meerut, that Capt. 

W was serving at the time of his death. Immediately on arriving 

from England at Cawnpore, he had offered his services to Colonel Wilson, 
of the 64th. They were at first declined, but finally accepted; and he 

Joined the Military Train, then starting for Lucknow. It was in their rasoks 

^h&t he fell. 


exactly the same words as that which I have given, only that 
the 14th of I^ovember had been substituted for the 15th.* 

This extraordinary narrative was obtained by me directly 

from the parties themselves. The widow of Captain W 

kindly consented to examine and correct the manxiscript, and 

allowed me to inspect a copy of Captain C 's letter, 

giving the particidars of her husband's death. To Mr. Wil- 
kinson, also, the manuscript was submitted, and he assented 
to its accuracy so far as he is concerned. That portion which 

relates to Mrs. N I had from that lady herself. I have 

neglected no precaution, therefore, to obtain for it the war- 
rant of authenticity. 

It is, perhaps, the only example on record where the 
appearance of what is usually termed a ghost proved the 
means of correcting an erroneous date in the despatches of a 
conmiander-in-chief^ and of detecting an inaccuracy in the 
certificate of a War Office. 

It is especially valuable, too, as furnishing an example of a 
double apparition. Nor can it be alleged (even if the allega- 
tion had weight) that the recital of one lady caused the appa- 
rition of the same figure to the other. Mrs. W was at 

the time in Cambridge, and Mrs. N in London ; and it 

was not till weeks after the occurrence that either knew what 
the other had seen. 

Those who would explain the whole on the principle of 
chance coincidence have a treble event to take into account : 

the apparition to Mrs. N , that to Mrs. W , and the 

actual time of Captain W 's death ; each tallying exactly 

with the other. 

Examples of apparitions at the moment of death might be 
midtiplied without number. Many persons — especially in 
Germany — who believe in no other species of apparition 
admit this. Anzeigen is the German term employed to 
designate such an intimation from the newly dead. 

Compelled by lack of space, I shall here close the list of 
narratives connected with alleged apparitions of the dead, by 
giving one — certainly not the least remarkable — a portion of 
the corroborative proofs of which were sought out and 
obtained by myself. 


In October, 1857, and for several months afterwards, Mrs. 

* The originals of both these certificates are in my possession : the first 
bearing date 30th January, 1858, and certifying, ^a «iteaA^ ^or^ra^ \Rk *<ic«k 
15th ; the second dated 5th April, 1859, and teatVE^^ \.o >2!aa\^^. 



R ,* wife of a field-officer of liigh rank in the British 

anny, was residing in Ramhurst Manor House, near Leigh, 
in Kent, England. From the time of her first occupying 
this ancient residence, every inmate of the house had been 
more or less disturbed at night — not usually during the day 
— ^by knockings and sounds as of footsteps, but more espe- 
cially by voices which could not be accounted for. These last 
were usually heard in some imoccupied adjoining room; 
sometimes as if talking in a loud tone, sometimes as if read- 
ing aloud, occasionally as if screaming. The servants were 
much alarmed. They never saw anything ; but the cook 

told Mrs. R that on one occasion, in broad daylight, 

hearing the rustle of a silk dress dose behind her, and which 
seemed to touch her, she turned suddenly round, supposing 
it to be her mistress, but, to her great surprise and terror, 
could see nobody. Mrs. R 's brother, a bold, light- 
hearted young officer, fond of field-sports, and without the 
slightest faith in the reality of visitations from another 
world, was much disturbed and annoyed by these voices, 
which he declared must be those of his sister and of a lady 
friend of hers, sitting up together to chat all night. On two 
occasions, when a voice which he thought to resemble his 
sister's rose to a scream, as if imploring aid, he rushed from 
his room, at two or three o'clock in the morning, gun in 
hand, into his sister's bedroom, there to find her quietly 

On the second Saturday in the above month of October, 

Mrs. R drove over to the railway-station at Tunbridge, 

to meet her friend Miss S -, whom she had invited to 

spend some weeks with her. This yoimg lady had been in 
the habit of seeing apparitions, at times, from early child- 

When, on their return, at about four o'clock in the after- 
noon, they drove up to the entrance of the manor-house. 

Miss S perceived on the threshold the appearance of two 

figures, apparently an elderly couple, habited in the costume 
of a former age. They appeared as if standing on the 
ground. She did not hear any voice; and, not wishing to 
render her friend uneasy, she made at that time no remark 
to her in connection with this apparition. 

She saw the- appearance of the same figures, in the same 
dress, several times within the next ten days, sometimes in 

* The iDitials of the two names here given are not the actual ones j but ' 
I izare the pleasure of a personaX acqaasntexLOQ 'm^^'Wck>(!scks&^ ^adi^a. 


one of the rooms of the house, sometimes in one of the pas- 
sages — always by daylight. They appeared to her sur- 
rounded by an atmosphere nearly of the colour usually called 
neutral tint. On the third occasion they spoke to her, and 
stated that they had been husband and wife, that in former 
days they had possessed and occupied that manor-house, and 
that their name was Children, They appeared sad and 

downcast ; and, when Mis8*S inquired the cause of their 

melancholy, they replied that they had idolized this property 
of theirs ; that their pride and pleasure had centred in its 
possession ; that' its improvement had engrossed their 
thoughts; and that it troubled them to know that it had 
passed away from their family, and to see it now in the 
hands of careless strangers. 

I asked Miss S how they spoke. She replied that the 

voice was audible to her as that of a human being's ; and 
that she believed it was heard also by others in an. adjoining 
room. This she inferred from the fact that she was after- 
wards asked with whom she had been conversing.* 

After a week or two, Mrs. R , beginning to suspect 

that something unusual, connected with the constant disturb- 
ances in the house, had occurred to her friend, questioned her 

closely on the subject ; and then Miss S related to her 

what she had seen and heard, describing the appearance and 
relating the conversation of the figures calling themselves 
Mr. and Mrs. Children. 

Up to that time, Mrs. R — 7-, though her rest had been 
frequently broken by the noises in the house, and though she 
too has the occasional perception of apparitions, had seen 
nothing ; nor did anything appear to her for a month after- 
wards. One day, however, about the end of that time, when 
she had ceased to expect any apparition to herself, she was 
hurriedly dressing for a late dinner ; her brother, who had 
just returned from a day's shooting, having called to her in 
impatient tones that dinner was served and that he was quite 
famished. At the moment of completing her toilet, and as 
she hastily turned to leave her bedchamber, not dreaming of 
anything spiritual, there in the doorway stood the same 
female figure Miss S had described — ^identical in appear- 
ance and in costume, even to the old point-lace on her 
— — — ^— ^— ^^■^^— ^^— ^— ^-^— — ^.^.—^.^——^—.^—..—^.i—^...^.^^^.^.^^.^^— _— ^— — ^— ^-^^^— — ^-^^— — ^-> I 

* Yet this is not conclusive. It might have been Miss S *s voice 

only that was heard, not any reply — though he£u:d by her — ^made by the 
apparitions. Visible to her, they were invisible to others. Audible to her, 
they may to others have been inaudible also. 

Yet it is certain that the voices at night were Itear^ eo^jasU^^ ^3P3 ^5Sl. 


brocaded silk dress — ^while beside her, on the left, but less 
distinctly visible, was the figure of her husband. They uttered 
no sound ; but above the figure of the lady, as if written in 
phosphoric light in the dusk atmosphere that surrounded her, 
were the words " Dame Childreriy^ together with some other 
words, intimating that, having never aspired beyond the joys 
and sorrows of this world, she had remained " earth-bound/* 

These last, however, Mrs. R scarcely paused to decipher ; 

for a renewed appeal from her brother as to whether they 
were to have any dinner that day, urged her forward. The 
figure, filling up the doorway, remaiaed stationary. There 
was no time for hesitation; she closed her ^ eyes, rushed 
through the apparition and into the dining-room, throwing 

up her hands and exclaiming to Miss S y " Oh, my dear, 

IVe walked through Mrs. Children !" 

This was the only time during her residence in the old 

manor-house that Mrs. R witnessed the apparition of 

these figures. 

And it is to be remarked that her bedchamber, at the 
time, was lighted, not only by candles, but by a cheerful fire, 
and that there was a lighted lamp in the corridor which com- 
mimicated thence to the dining-room. 

This repetition of the word " Children" caused the ladies 
to make inquiries among the servants and in the neighbour- 
hood whether ^ny family bearing that name had ever occu- 
Eied the manor-house. Among those whom they thought 
kely to know something about it was a Mrs. Sophy , 

a nurse in the family, who had spent her life in that vicinity. 
But aU inquiries were fruitless ; every one to whom they put 
the question, the nurse included, declaring that they had 
never heard of such a name. So they gave up all hopes of 
being able to unravel the mystery. 

It so happened, however, that, about four months after- 
wards, this nurse, going home for a holiday to her family at 
E/iverhead, about a mile from Seven Oaks, and recollecting 
that one of her sisters-in-law, who lived near her, an old 
woman of seventy, had fifty years before been housemaid in a 
family then residiag at Ramhurst, inquired of her if she had 
ever heard anything of a family named Children. The sister- 
in-law replied that no such family occupied the manor-house 
when she was there ; but she recollected to have then seen an 
old man who told her that in his boyhood he had assisted to 
keep the hounds of the Children family, who were then 
residing at Ramhurst. This ixiformation the nurse com- 
municated to Mrs. R on. "^leT T^tvxra.\ «el^ ^Sk»& S\» ^^ 


that that lady was first informed that a family named 
Children really had once occupied the manor-house. 

AU these particulars I received in December, 1858, directly 
from the ladies themselves, both being together at the time. 

Even up to this point the case, as it presented itself, was 
certainly a very remarkable one. But I resolved, if possible, 
to obtain farther confirmation in the matter. 

I inquired of Miss S whether the apparitions had com- 
municated to her any additional particulars connected with 
the family. She replied that she recollected one which she 
had then received from them, namely, that the husband's 
name was Richard. At a subsequent period, likewise, she had 
obtained the date of Richard Children's death, which, as com- 
municated to her, was 1753. She remembered also that on 
one occasion a third spirit appeared with them, which they 
stated was their son ; but she did not get his name. To my 
further inquiries as to the costumes in which the (alleged) 

spirits appeared. Miss S replied " that they were of the 

period of Queen Anne or one of the early Georges, she could 
not be sure which, as the fashions in both were similar." 

These were her exact words. Neither she nor Mrs. R , 

however, had obtained any information tending either to 
verify or to refute these particulars. 

Having an invitation from some friends residing near 
Seven Oaks, in Kent, to spend with them the Christmas week 
of 1858, I had a good opportunity of prosecuting my inquiries 
in the way of verification. 

I called with a friend, Mr. F , on the nurse, Mrs. Sophy 

. Without alluding to the disturbances, I simply asked 

her if she knew anything of an old family of the name of 
Children. She said she knew very little except what she had 
heard from her sister-in-law, namely, that they used in former 
days to live at a manor-house called Ramhurst. I asked her 
if she had ever been there. " Yes," she said, " about a year 

ago, as nurse to Mrs. R ." " Did Mrs. R ," I asked 

her, "know anything about the Children fanulv?" She 
replied that her mistress had once made inquiries of her about - 
them, wishing to know if they had ever occupied the manor- 
house, but at that time she (Mrs. Sophy) had never heard of 
such a family : so she could give the lady no satisfaction. 

" How did it happen," I asked, " that Mrs. R supposed 

such a family might once have occupied the house P" 

" Well, sir," she replied, " that is more than I can tell you ; 
unless, indeed (and here she hesitated and la^et^\!^<st ^^-v^^ 
it was through a young lady tliat was staym^ VvfitixK^sJ^^^^^. 



Did you ever hear, sir," she added^ looking around her in a 
mysterious way, " of what they call spirit-rappers ?" 

I intimated that I had heard the name. 

" I'm not afraid of such things," she pursued : " I never 
thought they would harm me; and I'm not one of your 
believers in ghosts. But then, to be sure, we did have such a 
time in that old house !" 

" Ah ! what sort of a time ?" 

"With knockings, sir, and the noise of footsteps, and 
people talking of nights. Many a time I've heard the voices 
when I was going along the passage at two or three o'clock 
in the morning, carrying the baby to my mistress. I don't 
believe in ghosts ; but you may be sure, sir, it was something 
serious when mistress's brother got up in the middle of the 
night, and came to his sister's room with his loaded gun in his 
hand. And then there was another brother : he got out of his 
bed one night and declared there were robbers in the house." 

" Did you see anything ?" 

" No, sir, never." 

" Nor any of the other servants ?" 

" I think not, sir ; but cook was so frightened !" 

" What happened to her ?" 

" Well, sir, no harm happened to her, exactly : only she was 
kneeling down making her fire one morning, when up she 
started with a cry like. I heard her, and came in to see what 
was the matter. ^ Oh,' says she, * nurse, if I didn't hear the 
rustling of a silk dress all across the kitchen !' * Well, cook,' 
says I, 'you know it couldn't be me, being I never wear 
silk.' * No,' says she, and she sort of laugh^ ; ' no, I knew 
it wasn't you, for I've heard the same three or four times 
already ; and whenever I look round there's nothing there.' " 

I thanked the good woman, and then went to see the sister- 
in-law, who fully confirmed her part of the story. 

But as all this aflbrded no clue either to the Christian name, 
or the date of occupation, or the year of Mr. Children's 
death, I visited, in search of these, the church and graveyard 
at Leigh, the nearest to the Ramhurst property, and the old 
church at Timbridge ; making inquiries in both places on the 
subject. But to no purpose. All I could learn was, that a 
certain George Children left, in the year 1718, a weekly gift 
of bread to the poor, and that a descendant of the family, 
also named George, dying some forty years ago, and not re- 
siding at Hamhurst, had a marble tablet, in the Tunbridge 
church, erected to his mem^ory. 
Sextons and tombatonea TDLavmg feS^<^ T£\fe, ^ StvbsA %m)^- 


gested that I might possibly obtain the information I sought 
by visiting a neighbouring clergyman. I did so, and with 
the most fortunate result. Simply stating to him that I had 
taken the liberty to call in search of some particulars touch- 
ing the e«,rly history of a Kentish family of the name of 
Children, he replied that, singularly enougn, he was in pos- 
session of a document, coming to him through a private 
source, and contaioing, he thought likely, the very details of 
which I was in search. He kindly intrusted it to me ; and I 
found in it, among numerous particulars regarding another 
member of the family, not many years since deceased, certain 
extracts from the " Hasted Papers,'' preserved in the British 
Museum ; these being contained in a letter addressed by one 
of the members of the Children family to Mr. Hasted. Of 
this document, which may be consulted in the Museum library, 
I here transcribe a portion, as follows : — 

"The family of Children were settled for a great many 
generations at a house called, from their own name, Chfldrens, 
situated at a place called Nether Street, otherwise Lower 
Street, in Hildenborough, in the parish of Txmbridge. George 
Children, of Lower Street, who was High Sheriff of Kent in 
1698, died without issue in 1718, and by will devised the bulk 
of his estate to Richard Children, eldest son of his late imcle, 
William Children, of Hedcom, and his heirs. This Richard 
Children, who settled himself at Ramhurst, in the parish of 
Leigh, married Anne, daughter of John Saxby, in the 
parish of Leeds, by whom he had issue four sons and two 
daughters,*' &c. 

Thus I ascertained that the first of the Children family 
who occupied Ramhurst as a residence was named Richard, and 
that he settled there in the early part of the reign of George I. 
The year of his death, however, was not given. 

This last particular I did not ascertain till several months 
afterwards ; when a friend versed in antiquarian lore, to whom 
I mentioned my desire to obtain it, suggested that the same 
Hasted, an extract from whose papers I have given, had pub- 
lished, in 1778, a history of Kent, and that, in that work, I 
might possibly obtain the information I sought. In effect, after 
considerable search, I there found the following paragraph : — 

"In the eastern part of the Parish of Lyghe (now Leigh), 
near the river Medway, stands an ancient mansion called 
Ramhurst, once reputed a Manor, and held of the honour of 
Gloucester." ... "It continued in the Culpepper family for 
several generations." ... "It passed by sale into that q£ 


Saxby, and Mr. William Saxby conveyed it, by sale, to 
Children. Richard Children, Esq., resided here, and died 
possessed of it in 1753, aged eighty-three years. He was 
succeeded in it by his eldest son, John Children, of Timbridge, 
Esq., whose son, George Children, of Timbridge, Esq., is the 
present possessor."* 

Thus I verified the last remaining particular, the date of 
Richard Children's death. It appears from the above also, 
that Richard Children was the only representative of the 
family who lived and died at Ramhurst ; his son John being 
designated not as of Ramhurst, but as of Tunbridge. From 
the private memoir above referred to I had previously ascer- 
tained that the family seat after Richard's time was Ferox 
Hall, near Tunbridge. 

It remains to be added that in 1816, in consequence of 
events reflecting no discredit on the family, they lost all their 
property, and were compelled to sell Ramhurst, which has 
since been occupied, though a somewhat spacious mansion, not 
as a family residence, but as a farm-house. I visited it ; and 
the occupant assured me that nothing worse than rats or mice 
disturbs it now. . 

I am not sure that I have found on record, among what are 
usually termed ghost-stories, any narrative better authen- 
ticated than the foregoing. It involves, indeed, no startling 
or romantic particulars, no warning of death, no disclosure of 
murder, no circimistances of terror or danger ; but it is all 
the more reliable on that account ; since those passions which 
are wont to excite and mislead the imaginations of men were 
not called into play. 

It was communicated to me, about fourteen months only 
after the events occurred, by both the chief witnesses, and in- 
cidentally confirmed, shortly afterwards, by a third. 

The social position and personal character of the two ladies 
to whom the figures appeared preclude, at the outset, all idea 
whatever of wilful mis-statement or deception. The sights 
and sounds to which they testify did present themselves to 
their senses. Whether their senses played them false is 
another question. The theory of hallucination remains to be 
dealt with. Let us inquire whether it be applicable in the 
present case. 

Miss S first saw the figures, not in the obscurity of 

* That is, in 1778, when the work was published. See for the above 
quotation <*Hasted's History of Kent," vol. i. pp. 422 and 423. 


night, not between sleeping and waking, not in some old 
otamber reputed to be haunted, but in the open air, and as 
she was descending froin a carriage, in broad daylight. Sub- 
sequently she not only saw them, but heard them speak ; and 
that always in daylignt. There are, however, cases on record 
in which the senses of hearing and right are alleged to have 
been both hallucinated ; that of Tasso, for example.* And 
if the case rested here, such is the interpretation which the 
physician would put upon it. 

But some weeks afterwards another lady sees the appearance 
of the selfsame figures. This complicates the case. For, as 
elsewhere shown,t it is generally admitted, by medical writers 
on the subject, that, while cases of collective illusion are 
common, it is doubtfiil whether there be on record a single 
authentic case of collective hallucination : the inference being 
that if two persons see the same appearance, it is not mere 
imagination ; there is some objective foimdation for it. 

It is true, and should be taken into account, that Miss 

S had described the apparition to her friend, and that for 

a time the latter had some expectation of witnessing it. And 
this will suggest to the sceptic, as explanation, the theory of 
expectant attention. But, in the first place, it has never been 
proved J that mere expectant attention could produLce the 
appearance of a figure with every detail of costume, to say 
nothing of the phosphorescent letters appearing above it, 

which Mrs. R certainly did not expect ; and, secondly, 

Mrs. E/ expressly stated to me that, as four weeks had 

elapsed and she had seen nothing, she had ceased to expect it 
at aU. Still less can we imagine that her thoughts would be 
occupied with the matter at the moment when, hurried by a 
hungry and impatient brother, she was hastily completing, 
in a cheerftdly-lighted room, her dinner toilet. It would be 
difl&cult to select a moment out of the twenty-four hours when 
the imagination was less likely to be busy with spiritual 
fancies, or could be supposed excited to the point necessarv to 
reproduce (if it can ever reproduce) the image of a described 

But, conceding these extreme improbabilities, what are we 
to make of the name Children, communicated to the one lady 
through the sense of hearing and to the other through that 
of sight ? 

* •* Essay towards a Theory of Apparitions," by John Ferriar, M.D., 
London, 1813, p. 75. 
t See Book IV. chap. i. 
X The contrary appears. See page 256. 


The name is a very uncommon one ; and both the ladies 
assured me that they had never even heard it before, to say 
nothing of their being wholly ignorant whether any family 
bearing that name had formerly occupied the old house. This 
latter point they seek to clear up ; but neither servants nor 
neighbours can tell them anything about it. They remain 
for four months without any explanation. At the end of that 
time, one of the servants, going home, accidentally ascertains 
that about a hundred years ago, or more, a family named 
Children did occupy that very house. 

What could imaguiation or expectation have to do with 
this ? The images of the figures may be set down, in the case 
of both the ladies, as hallucination ; but the name remains, a 
stubborn link, connecting these with the actual world. 

If even we were to argue — ^what no one will believe — ^that 
this agreement of family name was but a chance coincidence, 
there remain yet other coincidences to account for before the 
whole difficulty is settled. There is the alleged Christian as 
well as family name — ^Richard Children ; there is the date 
indicated by the costume, " the reign of Queen Anne or one 
of the early Georges ; " and, finally, there is the year of 
Richard Children's death. 

These the ladies stated to me, not knowing, when they did so, 
what the actual facts were. These facts I myself subsequently 
disinterred ; obtaining the evidence of a document preserved 
in the British Museum in proof that Richard Children did 
inherit the Ramhurst property in the fourth year of the reign 
of George I., and did make the Ramhurst mansion-house his 
family residence. And he is the only representative of the 
family who lived and died there. His son John may have 
resided there for a time ; but previous to his decease he had 
left the place for another seat, .near Tunbridge. 

Then there is the circumstance that misfortunes compelled 
the descendants of Richard Children to sell the Ramhurst 
property, and that their ancestor's family mansion, passing 
into the hands of strangers, was degraded (as that ancestor 
would doubtless have considered it) to an ordinary farm-house; 
all this still tallying with the communications made. 

It is perfectly idle, under the circumstances, to talk of 
fancy or fortuitous coincidence. Something other than ima- 
gination or accident, be it what it may, determined the 
minute specifications obtained from the apparitions in the 
Old Kent Manor-House. 

The lesson taught by this story — ^if we admit the figures 
which presented themselvea to like two \aj4iea to have been, in 


verity, the apparitions of the Children family — ^is, that crime 
is not necessary to attract the spirits of the departed back to 
earth ; that a frame of mind of an exclusively worldly cast — 
a character that never bestowed a thought upon anything 
beyond this earth, and was troubled only by the cares of pos- 
session and the thoughts of gain — ^may equally draw down 
the spirit, though freed from the body, to gather cumber and 
sorrow amid the scenes of its former care. If this be so, how 
strong the motive not to suffer the present and the temporal, 
necessary and proper in their places as they are, so completely 
to engross us as to usurp the place, and wholly to exclude the 
thoughts, of the fiiture and the spiritual ! 

I presume not to anticipate the judgment which the reader 
may pass on the evidence here submitted to him. If his 
decision be, that there is not, in any of the preceding exam- 
ples, proof that an objective reality, be its nature what it 
may, was presented to the senses of the observers, then he 
, would do well to consider whether the rule of evidence accord- 
I ing to which he may have reached that decision, if applied to 
I history, sacred and profane, would not sweep off nine-tenths, 

I and more, of all we have been accustomed to trust to as foun- 
dation for historical deduction and religious belief. 
If, on the other hand, adopting in this investigation the 
t same rules in scanning testimony by which we are governed, 
day by day, in ordinary life, the reader should decide that 
sometning other than hallucination must be conceded, and 
that the senses of some of these observers did receive actual 
impressions produced by an external reality, the question re- 
mains, of what precise character that reality is. 

Daniel De Foe has an elaborate work on this subject, illus- 
trated, by many examples : of which some, it must be con- 
fessed, exhibit more of that inimitable talent which makes 
Robinson Crusoe one of the most vivid realities of childhood, 
than of that more prosaic precision which scorns not names 
and dates and authenticating vouchers. 

De Foe's opinion is, "The inquiry is not, as I take it, 

whether the inhabitants of the invisible spaces do really come 

I hither or no, but who they are who do come ?"* 

' From the "meanness of some of the occasions on which 

some of these things happen," he argues that it cannot be 

I * "Universal Histoiy of Apparitions," by Andrew Moreton, Esq., 3rd 
i edition, London, 1738, p. 2. De Foe's biographers acknowledge for him the 
\ authorship of this work. The first edition appeared in 1727. 


angels, properly so called, such as appeared to Gideon or to 
David. "Here," says he, "you have an old woman dead 
that has hid a little money in the orchard or garden ; and an 
apparition, it is supposed, comes and discovers it, by leading 
tte person it appears to, to the plax>e, and nmking some^gW 
that he should dig there for somewhat. Or, a man is dead, 
and, having left a legacy to such or such, the executor does 
not pay it, and an apparition comes and haunts this executor 
till he does justice. Is it likely an angel should be sent from 
heaven to find out the old woman's earthen dish with thirty 
or forty shillings in it, or that an angel should be sent to 
harass this man for a legacy of five or ten pounds ? And as 
to the devil, will any one charge Satan with being solicitous 
to see justice done ? They that know him at aU must know 
him better than to think so hardly of him." (p. 34.) 

Nor can it, he argues, be the soul or ghost of the departed 
person ; " for if the soul is happy, is it reasonable to believe 
that the felicity of heaven can be interrupted by so trivial a 
matter and on so slight an occasion ? If the soul be unhappy, 
remember the great guK fixed : there is no reason to believe 
these unhappy souls have leisure or liberty to come back upon 
earth on errands of such a nature.'' 

The idea of Hades, or a mediate state, evidently did not 
enter into De Foe's mind ; and thus he found himself in a 
dilemma. " There is nothing," says he, " but difficulty in it 
on every side. Apparitions there are : we see no room to 
doubt the reality of that part ; but what, who, or from whence, 
is a difficulty which I see no way to extricate ourselves from 
but by granting that there may be an appointed, deputed sort of 
stationary spirits in the invisible world, who come upon these 
occasions and appear among us ; which inhabitants or spirits, 
(you may call them angels, if you please — ^bodies they are 
not, and cannot be, neither had they been ever embodied,) 
but such as they are, they have a power of conversing among 
us, and can, by dreams, impulses, and strong aversions, move 
our thoughts, and give hope, raise doubts, sink our souls 
to-day, elevate them to-morrow, and in many \^ays operate 
on our passions and affections."* 

Again, he says : " The spirits I speak of must be heaven- 
bom : they do Heaven's work, and are honoured by his special 
commission ; they are employed in his immediate business — 
namely, the common good of his creature, man."t 

^^'^ — ' 

* " Universal History of Apparitions," p. 35» 
t Work cited, p. 52. 

HADES. 315 

If there be no mediate state which the spirit enters at 
death, and whence it may occasionally return, then De Foe's 
hypothesis may be as good as any other. But if we admit a 
Sheol or Hades, and thus do away with all difficulty about 
disturbing the extatic felicity of heaven or escaping across 
the gulf from the fast-binding chains of hell, why should we 
turn aside from a plain path, and seek to evade a straight- 
forward inference, that, if God really does permit apparitions, 
these maybe what they allege they are? Why should we 
gratuitously create, for the nonce, a nondescript species of 
spirits, not men, though a little lower than the angels ; pro- 
tectors, who simulate ; guardians, who lie ; ministering spi- 
rits»commissioned by God, who cheat men by assuming false 
forms — ^to one appearing as an aunt, to another as a grand- 
mother ; now personating a murderer, and imploring prayer, 
now playing tne part of the murdered, and soliciting pity ? 
: Is this God's work ? Are these fitting credentials of heavenly 
: birth, plausible evidences of divine commission ? 
^ The question remains as to the existence of a mediate state, 
\ whence human spirits that have suffered the great change 
t may be supposed to have the occasional power of returning. 
i Before touching upon it, I pause, to add a few examples of 
f what seem visitmgs from that unknown sphere ; interferences, 
k of which some assume the aspect of retribution, some of guar- 
f dianship, all being of a peculiarly personal character. 






■£ SI 






Ever since the days of Orestes, the idea of a spiritual agency, 
retributive and inevitable, has prevailed, in some slfepe, 
throughout the world. If we do not now believe in serpent- 
haired furies, the ministers of Divine vengeance, pursuing, 
with their whips of scorpions, the doomed criminal, we speak 
currently of the judgments of God, as evinced in some swift 
and sudden punishment overtaking, as if by the direct man- 
date of Heaven, the impenitent gmlty. 

On the other hand, Christianity sanctions, in a general 
way, the idea of spiritual care exerted to guide human steps 
and preserve from unforeseen danger. JProtestantism does 
not, indeed, admit as sound the doctrine of patron saints, to 
whom prayers may properly be addressed, and from whom 
aid may reasonably be expected. Yet we must deny not 
only the authority of St. Paul, but, it would seem, that of his 
Master also, if we reject the theory of spirits, protective and 
guardian, guiding the inexperience of infancy and ministering 
at least to a favoured portion of mankind.* 

Among modem records of alleged ultra-mundane influ- 
ences we come upon indications which favour, to a certain 
extent, both ideas ; that of requital for evil done, and that of 
guardian care exerted for the good of man. The latter is 
more frequent and more distinctly marked than the former. 
There is nothing giving colour to the idea of permission to 
inflict serious injury, still less to the notion of implacable 
vengeance.f The power against the evil-doer seems to be of 
a very limited nature, reaching no further than annoyance, 
of petty effect unless conscience give sting to the infliction. 

* Matthew xviii. 10 ; Hebrews i. 14. 

•f" The Grecians themselves do not represent the Furies as implacable. 
These were held to be open — as their name of Enmenides implies — ^to 
benevolent and mercifnl imptdses, and might, by proper means, be pro- 


On the other hand, the power to guide and protect appears 
to be not only more common, but more influential ; with its 
limits, however, such as a wise parent might set to the free 
agency of a child. If warnings are given, it is rather in the 
form of dim hints or vague reminders thau of distinct pro- 
phecy. If rules of action are suggested, they are of a general 
character, not relieving the spiritual ward from the duty of 
forethought and the task of self-decision, nor yet releasing 
him from the emplovment of that reason without the con- 
stant exercise of which he would speedily be degraded from 
his present position at the head of animal nature. 

The modem examples to which I have referred are more or 
less definite in their character. 

Among the narratives, for instance, appearing to involve 

retributive agency. Dr. Binns vouches for one admitting of 

Various interpretation. He records it as "a remarkable 

. instance of retributive justice which occurred very recently in 

:■ Jamaica.'' The story is as foUows :— 

"A young and beautiful quadroon girl, named Duncan, 
was found murdered in a retired spot, a few paces from the. 
. main road. From the evidence given on the coroner's in- 
. quest, it was satisfactorily established that she had been vio- 
I lated previous to the murder. A large reward was ofiered 
for any information that might lead to the apprehension of 
I the murderer ; uui nearly a year elapsed without any clue 

• whatever being obtained. It happened that, about this 
^ period from the discovery of the murder, two black men, 

• named Pendril and Chitty, were confined for separate petty 
ofiences ; one in the Kingston Penitentiary, on the south, the 
other in Falmouth Gaol, on the north, side of the island. 
Their imprisonment was unknown to each other, and the 

' distance between their places of incarceration was eighty 
' miles. Each of these men became restless and t^^kative in 
^ his sleep, repeal*' ■'^— ^ ^ ^ --' ^^^^ presence of the 

i murdered girl, and entreatmg her to leave him. This hap- 
pened so frequently that it led to inquiries, which terminated 
in the conviction of the two men." * 

This case may be regarded either as an example of acci- 
dentally synchronous dreams, or else of an apparition pre- 
senting itself simultaneously, or nearly so, to the sleeping 
senses of two men at a distance from each other. 


* " Anatomy of Sleep," by Edward Binns, M.D., 2nd ed., London, 1845, 
p. 152. 


The former is a supposable explanation. Conscience may 
be conceived likely to dog the thoughts of men guilty of sucn 
an infamy. But that to both, distant and disconnected from 
each other, and after a year had passed, its retributive re- 
minders should assume the self-same shape at the very same 
time, by mere chance, is a contingency possible, indeed, but 
of very improbable occurrence. 

And why should it be considered unlikely that some agency 
other than chance was here at work P We know that warn-' 
ings have been given in dreams : why should dreams not 
embody requitals also ? 

But, since the above case presents two possible phases, let 
us pass to another, of less equivocal character, 


Mademoiselle Claire- Jos^phe Clairon was the great French 
tragedian of the last century. She occupied, in h^r day, 
a position similar to that which Rachel has recently filled. 
Marmontel was one of her warmest eulogists ; and her talents 
were celebrated in the verses of Voltaire. 

Her beauty, her grace, and her genius won for her many 
enthusiastic admirers ; some professing friendship, others 
offering love. Among the latter, in the year 1743, was a 
young man, Monsieur de S , son of a merchant of Brit- 
tany, whose attachment appears to have been of the most 
devoted kind. 

The circimistances connected with this yoimg man's death, 
and the events which .succeeded it, are of an extraordinary 
character ; but they come to us from first hand, and remark- 
ably well authenticated, being detailed by Mademoiselle 
Clairon herself, in her autobiography, from wnich I translate 
the essential part of the narrative, as follows : — 

" The language and manners of Monsieur de S gave 

evidence of an excellent education and of the habit of good 
society. His reserve, his timidity, which deterred all ad- 
vances except by little attentions and by the language of the 
eyes, caused me to distinguish him from others. After 
having met him frequently in society, I at last permitted 
him to visit me at my own house, and did not conceal from 
him the friendship with which he inspired me. Seeing me 
at liberty, and well inclined towards him, he was content to 
be patient, hoping that time might create in me a warmer 
sentiment. I could not tell — ^who can ? — ^how it woiJd . 
result But, when he came to reply candidly to the ques- I 


tions wliicli my reason and curiosity prompted, he himself 
destroyed the chance he might have had. Ashamed of being 
a commoner only, he had converted his property into ready 
funds, and had come to Paris to spend his money, aping a 
rank above his own. This displeased me. He who blushes 
for himself causes others to despise him. Besides this, his 
temperament was melancholy and misanthropic : he knew 
mankind too well, he said, not to contemn and to avoid them. 
His project was to see no one but myself, and to carry me off 
where I should see only him. That, as may be supposed, 
did not suit me at all. I was willing to be guided by a 
flowery band, but not to be fettered with chains. From that 
moment, I saw the necessity of destroying entirely the hopes 
he nourished, and of changing his assiduities of every day 
to occasional visits, few and far between. This caused him a 
severe illness, during which I nursed him with every possible 
care. But my constant refusals aggravated the case ; and, 
imfortunately for the poor fellow, his brother-in-law, to 
whom he had intrusted the care of his funds, failed to make 
remittances, so that he was fain to accept the scanty supply 
of spare cash I had, to furnish him with food and medical 
assistance." . . . "Finally, he recovered his propei'ty, 
but not his health ; and, desiring for his own sake to keep 
him at a distance from me, I steadily refused both his letters 
and his visits. 

" Two years and a half elapsed between the time of our 
first acquaintance and his death. He sent, in his last 
moments, to beg that I would grant him the happiness of 
seeing me once more ; but my friends hindered me from 
doing so. He died, having no one near him but his servants 
and an old lady, who for some time had been his only society. 
His apartments were then on the Rempart, near the 
Chaussee d'Antin ; mine, in the Rue de Bassy, near the 
monastery of Saint-Germain. 

" That evening my mother and several other friends were 
supping with me — ^among them, the Intendai;it of the Menus- 
Plaisirs, whose professional aid I constantly required, that 
excellent fellow Pipelet, and Rosely, a comrade of mine and 
a young man of good family, witty and talented. The supper 
was gay. I had just been singing to them, and they ap- 
plauding me, when, ai^ eleven o'clock struck, a piercing cry 
was heard. Its heartrending tone and the length of time 
it continued struck every one with astonishment. I fainted, 
and remained for a quarter of an hour totally \mcoii&ci.Q.\v&" 


. . . . "When I recovered, I begged them to remain 
with me part of the night. We reasoned much in regard to 
this strange cry ; and it was agreed to have spies set in the 
street, so that, in case of its repetition, we might detect its 
cause and its author. 

" Every succeeding night, always at the same hour, the 
same cry was repeated, sounding immediately beneath my 
windows, and appearing to issue from the vacant air. My 
people, my guests, my neighbours, the police, all heard it 
alike. I could not doubt that it was intended for me. I 
seldom supped from home, but when I did, nothing was 
heard there ; and several times, when I returned later than 
eleven, and inquired of iny mother, or the servants, if any- 
thing had been heard of it, suddenly it burst forth in the 
midst of us. 

" One evening the President de B , with whom I had 

been supping, escorted me home, and, at the moment he 
bade me good-night at the door of my apartment, the cry 
exploded between him and myself. He was quite familiar 
with the story, for all Pari* knew it ; yet he was carried to 
his carriage more dead than alive. 

" Another day, I begged my comrade, Rosely, to accom- 
pany me, first to the Rue Saint-Honor^, to make some pur- 
chases, afterwards to visit my Mend Mademoiselle de Saint- 

P , who resided near the Porte Saint-Denis. Our sole 

topic of conversation all the way was my ghost, as I used to 
call it. The young man, witty and unbeheving, begged me 
to evoke the phantom, promising to believe in it if it replied. 
Whether from weakness or audacity, I acceded to his request. 
Thrice, on the instant, the cry sounded, rapid and terriUe in 
its repetition. When we arrived at my friend's house, Rosely 
and I had to be carried in. We were both found lying sense- 
less in the carriage. 

"After this scene, I remained several months without 
hearing anything more ; and I began to hope that the dis- 
turbance had ceased. I was mistaken. 

" The theatre had been ordered to Versailles, on occasion 
of the marriage of the Dauphin. We were to remain there 
three days. We were insufficiently provided with apart- 
ments. Madame Grandval had none. We waited half the 
night in hopes that one would be assigned to her. At three 
o'clock in the morning I offered her one of the two beds in 
my room, which was in the Avenue de Saint-Cloud. She 
accepted it I occupied the other bed ; and as my maid was 


undressing, to sleep beside me, I said to her, * Here we are at 
the end of the world, and with such frightful weather ! I think 
it would puzzle the ghost to find us out here.' The same cry, 
on the instant ! Madame Grandval thought that hell itself 
was let loose in the room. In her night-dress she rushed 
down-stairs, from the top to the bottom. Not a soul in the 
house slept another wink that night. This was, however, the 
last time I ever heard it. 

" Seven or eight days afterwards, while chatting with my 
ordinary circle of friends, the stroke of eleven o'clock was 
followed by a musket-shot, as if fired at one of my windows. 
Every one of us heard the report, every one of us saw the 
flash; but the window had received no injury. We con- 
cluded that it was an attempt on my life, that for this time it 
had failed, but that precautions must be taken for the future. 
The Intendant hastened to .M, de Marville, then Lieutenant 
of Police, and a personal friend of his. Officers were instantly 
sent to examine the houses opposite mine. Throughout the 
following days they were guarded from top to bottom. My 
own house, also, was thoroughly examined. The street was 
filled with spies. But, in spite of all these precautions, for 
three entire months, every evening, at the same hour, the same 
musket-shot, directed against the same pane of glass, was 
heard to explode, was seen ; and yet no one was ever able to 
discover whence it proceeded. This fact is attested by its 
official record on the registers of the police. 

" I gradually became in a measure accustomed to my 
ghost, whom I began to consider a good sort of fellow, since 
he was content with tricks that produced no serious injury ; 
and, one warm evening, not noticing the hour, the Intendant 
and myself, having opened the haunted window, were leaning 
over the balcony. Eleven o'clock struck ; the detonation in- 
stantly succeeded ; and it threw both of us, half-dead, into 
the middle of the room. When we recovered, and found that 
neither us was hurt, we began to compare notes ; and each 
admitted to the other the having received, he on the left 
cheek and I on the right, a box on the ear, right sharply laid 
on. We both burst out laughing. 

"Next day nothing happened. The day after, having 
received an invitation from Mademoiselle Dumesuil to attend a 
nocturnal fete at her house, near the Barriere Blanche, I got 
into a hackney-coach, with my maid, at eleven o'clock. It 
was bright moonhght, and our road was along the Boulevards, 
which were then beginning to be built up. We were looking 


out at the houses they were building, when my maid said to 

me, ' Was it not somewhere near here that Monsieur de S 

died ?* * From what they told me,' I repKed, * it must have 
been in one of these two houses in front of us,' pointing to 
them at the same time. At that moment the same musket- 
shot that had been pursuing me was fired from one of the 
houses, and passed through our carriage.* The coachman set 
oS at fiill gallop, thinking he was attacked by robbers ; and 
we, when we arrived at our destination, had scarcely recovered 
our senses. For my own part, I confess to a degree of terror 
which it was long before I could shake oflf. But this exploit 
was the last of its kind. I never again heard any discharge 
of fire-arms. 

" To these shots succeeded a clapping of hands, given in 
measured time and repeated at intervals. These sounds, to 
which the favour of the public had accustomed me, gave me 
but trifling annoyance, and I took little trouble to trace their 
origin. My friends did, however. ' We have watched in 
the most carefiil manner,' they would say to me ; * it is under 
your very door that the sounds occur. We hear them, but 
we see nobody. It is another phase of the same annoyances 
that have followed you so long.' As these noises had nothing 
alarming in them, I did not preserve a record of the period 
of their continuance. 

" If or did I take special note of the melodious sounds by 
which, after a time, they were succeeded. It seemed as if a 
celestial voice warbled the prelude to some noble air which it 
was about to execute. Once the voice commenced at the 
Carrefour de Bussy, and continued all the way until I reached 
my own door. In this case, as in all the preceding, my 
friends watched, followed the soimds, heard them as I did, 
but could never see anything. 

"Finally all the sounds ceased, after having continued, 
with intermissions, a Kttle more than two years and a-half." 

Whether the sequel may be regarded as supplying a 
sufficient explanation or not, it is proper to give it, as ftir- 
nished by Mademoiselle Clairon. 

That lady desiring to change her residence, and the apart- 
ments she occupied being advertised to rent, several persons 
called to see them. Among the rest there was announced a 
lady advanced in years. She exhibited much emotion, which 

* Whether a hall passecE through the carriage does not clearly appear. 
The expression is, " D'ime des maisons partit oe nidme coup de fusil qui 
me ponrsaivait ; il traveraa notre voiture." 


communicated itself to Mademoiselle Clairon. At last she 
confessed that it was not to look at the apartments she came, 
but to converse with their occupant. She had thought of 
writing, she said, but had feared that her motives might be 
misinterpreted. Mademoiselle Clairon begged for an ex- 
planation ; and the conversation which ensued is thus 
reported by herself: — 

" * I was, mademoiselle,' said the lady, * the best friend of 

Monsieur de S ; indeed, the only one he was willing to 

see during the last year of his life. The tours, the days of 
that year were spent by us in talking of you, sometimes setting 
you down as an angel, sometimes as a devil. As for me, I 
urged him constantly to endeavour to forget you, while he 
protested that he would continue to love you even beyond the 
tomb. You weep,' she continued, after a pause ; * and per- 
haps you will allow me to ask you why you made him so 
imhappy, and why, with your upright and affectionate 
character, you refused him, in his last moments, the con- 
•solation of seeing you once more.* 

" * Our affections,' I replied, * are not within our own 

control. Monsieur de S had many meritorious and 

estimable qualities; but his character was sombre, misan- 
thropic, despotic, so that he caused me to fear alike his society, 
his friendship, and his love. To make him happy, I should 
have had to renounce all himian intercourse, even the talent I 
exercise. I was poor and proud. It has been my wish and 
my hope to accept no favour — to owe everything to my own 
exertions. The friendship I entertained for hrm caused me 
to try every means to bring him back to sentiments more 
calm and reasonable. Failing in this, and convinced that his 
obstinate resolve was due less to the extremity of his passion 
than to the violence of his character, I adopted, and adhered 
to, the resolution to separate firom him for ever. I refused to 
see him on his death-bed, because the sight of his distress 
would have made me miserable, to no good end. Besides, I 
might have been placed in the dilemma of refusing what he 
might ask me, with seeming barbarity, or acceding to it 
with certain prospect of future unhappiness. These, madam, 
were the motives which actuated me. I trust you will not 
consider them deserving of censure.' 

" ' It would be imjust,' she repKed, * to condemn you. We 
can be reasonably called upon to make sacrifices only to ftdfil 
our promises, or in discharge of our duty to. relatives or to 
benefactors. I know that you owed him no gratitude ; he 


himself felt that all obligation was on his part ; but the state 
of his mind and the passion which ruled him were beyond 
his control ; and your refusal to see him hastened his last 
moments. He counted the minutes until half-past ten, when 
his servant returned with the[[message that most certainly you 
would not come. After a moment of silence, he took my 
hand, and, in a state of despair which terrified me, he ex- 
claimed, " Barbarous creature ! But she shall gain nothing 
by it. I will pursue her as long after my death 'as she has 
pursued me during my life" ... I tried to calm him. He 
was already a corpse.' "* 

This is the story as Mademoiselle Clairon herself relates it. 
She add», " I need not say what efiect these last words pro- 
duced on me. The coincidence between them and the distur- 
bances that had haunted me filled me with terror I 

do not know what chance really is ; but I am very sure that 
what we ' are in the habit of calling so has a vast influence 
upon human affairs." 

In the Memoirs of the Duchesse d'Abrant^s, written by' 
herself, and containing so many interesting particulars of the 
French Revolution, and the stirring events which succeeded 
it, she states that, during the Consulate, when Mademoiselle 
Clairon was upwards of seventy years of age, she (the duchess) 
made her acquaintance, and heard from her own Kps the 
above story, of which she gives a brief and not very accurate 
compendium. In regard to the impression which Mademoi- 
selle Clairon's mode of relating it produced on the duchess, 
that lady remarks : — 

" I know not whether in all this there was a little exag- 
geration ; but she who usually spoke in a tone savouring of 
exaltation, when she came to relate this incident, though she 
spoke with dignity, laid aside all affectation and every thing 
vhich could be construed into speaking for effect. Albert, 
who believed in magnetism, wished, after having heard Made- 
moiselle Clairon, to persuade me that the thing was possible. 
I laughed at him then. Alas ! since that time I have myself 
learned a terrible lesson in credulity.^f 

I know not according to what sound principles of evidence 

* " Memoires de Mademoiselle Clairon, Actrice du Theatre FranQais, Merits 
par elle-m^me," 2nd ed., Paris, 1822, pp. 78 to 96. The editors state that 
these Memoirs are published " without the change of a single word firom the 
original manuscript. 

f " Memoires de Madame la Duchesse d'Abrant^s, Merits par elle-mlme,** 
2nd ed., Paris, 1836, vol. ii. p. 89. 



we can refuse credit to a narrative so well authenticated as 
this. The phenomena were observed, not by Mademoiselle 
Clairon only, but by numerous other witnesses, including the 
most sharp-eyed and suspicious of beings — ^the police-officers 
of Paris. The record of them is still to be found in the 
archives of that poKce. They were not witnessed once, twice, 
fifty times only. They were observed throughout more than two 
entire years. The shot against a certain pane of her window 
was fired, so Mademoiselle Clairon expressly tells us, every 
night, at the same hour, for three months — ^therefore ninety 
times in succession. What theory, what explanation, will 
account for a trick of such a character that could for so long 
a space of time escape the argus eyes of the French police P 
Then the cry at the moment when, at Rosely's suggestion, 
the phantom was evoked ; the shot against the carriage from 
the house where Monsieur de S had resided : what imagin- 
able trickery could be at the bottom of these ? 

The incidents occurred in Mademoiselle Clairon's youth ; 
commencing when she was twenty-two years and a-half old, 
and terminating when she was twenty-five. Nearly fifty 
years afterwards, towards the close of her life, in that period j^f 
cabn reflection which comes with old age, she still preserved 
that deep conviction of the reaKty of these marvels which 
imparted to the tone and manner of her narrative the attest- 
ing simplicitv of truth. 

F'inaUy, tne coincidence to which Mademoiselle Clairon 
alludes is a double one ; first as to the incidents themselves, 
then as to the period of their continuance. Monsieur de 

S , with his dying breath, declared that he would haunt 

her ; and this she knew not till the persecution, commencing 
within half an hour after his decease, was ended. He said, 
further, that she should be followed by his spirit for as long 
a period as she had held him enthralled. But from the period 
of his acquaintance with her tiU his death was two vears and 
a-half, while from this latter event tiU the close of the dis- 
turbances there elapsed, as the sufierer tells us, two years and 
a-half more. 

Yet, even if we admit in this case the reality of ultra- 
mundane agency, I do not presume to assert, as a corollary 

positively proved, that it was the spirit of Monsieur de S 

which fulfilled the threat he had made. That is certainly the 
most natural explanation which suggests itself. And if it be 
not the true one, chance, at least, is insufficient to account for 
the exact manner in which the declaration of the dying man 


tallies with the sufferings of her who was the object of his un- 
fortunate and unavailing love. 

If we accept this narrative, it bears with it an additional 
lesson. Supposing the agency of the disturbances to be 
spiritual, we cannot regard it as commissioned from God, any 
more than we do the annoyances which a neighbour, taking 
imjust offence, may inflict, in this world, on his offending 
neighbour in retaliation. Mademoiselle Clairon's conduct 
seems to have been justifiable and prudent ; certainly not 
meriting persecution or punishment. 

Why, then, were these annoyances permitted ? When we 
can teU why earthly annoyances are often allowed to overtake 
the innocent, it will be time enough to insist upon an answer 
to the spiritual question. 

Natural phenomena occur imder general laws, not by special 
dispensation. But the disturbances above recorded were 
doubtless natural phenomena. 

We may imagme that everything in the next world is 
governed by principles totally different from those which we 
see in operation here. But why should we imagine this? 
Does not the same Providence preside on the farther as on 
the hither side of the Dark River ? 

An example somewhat more closely resembling punishment 
really merited and expressly sent is the following — a narra- 
tive which I owe to the kindness of Mrs. S. 0. Hall, the 
author, and to the truth of which, as will be seen, she bears 
personal testimony. But even in this case can we rationally 
assert more than that the agency was permitted, not com- 

I give the story in Mrs. Hall's own words. The circum- 
stances occurred in London. 


" AU young girls have friendships one with another ; and 
when I was seventeen my friend, above all others, was Kate 

L . She was a young Irish lady, my senior by three 

years — a gentle, affectionate, pretty creature, much devoted to 
her old mother, and exercising constant forbearance towards a 
disagreeable brother, who would persist in playing the flute, 
though he played both out of time and tune. This brother 
was my bete noire ; and whenever I complained of his bad 
playing, Kate would say, * Ah, wait till Robert comes hoioye ; 
he play a and sings like an angel, and is so handsome !" 

BY MRS. HALL. 327 

" This * Robert ' had been with his regiment for some years 
in Canada ; and his coming home was to be the happiness of 
mother and daughter. For three months before his return 
nothing else was talked of. If I had had any talent for falling 
in love, I should have done so, in anticipation, with Robert 

L ; but that was not my weakness; and I was much 

amused with my friend's speculations as to whether Robert 
would fall in love with me, or I with him, first. 

" When we met, there was, happily, no danger to either. 
He told Kate that her friend was always laughing; and I 
thought I had never looked on a face so beautiful in outline, 
and yet so haggard and painful. His large blue eyes were 
deeply set, but always seemed looking for something they 
could not find. To look at him made me uncomfortable. 
But this was not so strange as the change which, after a 
time, was evident in Kate. She had become, in less than a 
week, cold and constrained. I was to have spent a day with 
her ; but she made some apology, and in doing so, burst into 
tears. Something was evidently wrong, which I felt satisfied 
time inust disclose. 

"In about a week more she came to see me by myself, 
looking ten years older. She closed the door of my room, 
and then said she desired to tell me something which she felt 
I could hardly beKeve, but that, if I was not afraid, I might 
come and judge for myself. 

" After Robert's return, she said, for a week or so they 
had been deKghtfully happy. But very soon — she thought 
about the tenth day, or rather night — ^they were alarmed by 
loud raps and knocks in Robert's room. It was the back 

room on the same floor on which Mrs. L and her daughter 

slept together in a large front bed-chamber. They heard 
him swearing at the noise, as if it had been at his servant ; 
but the man did not sleep in the house. At last he threw his 
boots at it ; and the more violent he became, the more violent 
seemed to grow the disturbance. 

" At last his mother ventured to knock at his door and ask 
what was the matter. He told her to come in. She brought 
a lighted candle aild set it on the table. As she entered, her 
son's favourite pointer rushed out of the room. * So,' he said, 
' the dog's gone I I have not been able to keep a dog in my 
room at night for years; but under your roof, mother, I 
fancied, I hoped, I might escape a persecution that I see now 
pursues me even here. I am sorry for Kate's canary-bird 


that himg behind the curtain. I heard it fluttering after the 
first round. Of course it is dead ! ' 

" The old lady got up all trembling, to look at poor Kate's 
bird. It was dead, at the bottom of the cage — all its feathers 

" ' Is there no Bible in the room ? ' she inquired. 
* Yes,' — ^he drew one from under his pillow : * that, I think, 
protects me from blows.' He looked so dreadftdly exhausted 
that his mother wished to leave the room, to get him some 
wine. * No : stay here : do not leave me ! ' he entreated. 
Hardly had he ceased speaking, when some huge, heavy 
substance seemed rolling down the chimn^ and flopped on 

the hearth ; but Mrs. L saw nothing. The next moment, 

as from a strong wind, the Kght was extinguished, while 
knocks and raps and a rushing sound passed round the apart- 

» ment. Robert L alternately prayed and swore ; and the 

old lady, usually remarkable for her self-possession, had great 
difficulty in preventing herself from miating. The noise 
continued, sometimes seeming like violent thumpSy sometimes 
the sounds appearing to trickle around the room. 

" At last her other son, roused by the disturbance, came in, 
and found his mother on her knees, praying. 

" That night she slept in her son's room, or rather attempted 
to do so, for sleep was impossible, though her bed was not 
touched or shaken. Kate remained outside the open door. 
It was impossible to see, because immediately after the first 
plunge down the chimney, the Kghts were extinguished. 

" The next morning, Kobert told his family that for more 
than ten years he had been the victim of this spirit-persecution. 
If he lay in his tent, it was there, disturbing his brother 
officers, who gradually shunned the society of * the haunted 
man,' as they called him — one who *must have done some- 
thing to draw down such punishment.' When on leave of 
absence, he was generally free from the visitation for three or 
four nights ; then it found him out again. He never was 
suffered to remain in. a lodging ; being regularly * warned 
out ' by the householders, who would not endure the noise. 

"After breakfast, the next-door neighbours sent in to 
complain of the noises of the preceding night. On the suc- 
ceeding nights, several friends (two or three of whom I knew) 

sat up with Mrs. L , and sought to investigate, according 

to hxmian means, the cause. In vain ! They verified the fact 
the cause remained hidden in mystery. 


"Kate wished me to hear for myself; but I had not 
courage to do so, nor would my dear mother have permitted it. 

" No inducement could prevail on the pointer to return to 
his master's room, by day or night. He was a recent purchase, 
and, until the first noise in London came, had appreciated 
Robert's kindness. After that, he evidently disliked his 
master. * It is the old story over again,' said Robert. * I 
could never keep a dog. I thought I would try again ; but 
I shall never have anything to love, and nothing will ever be 
permitted to love me.' The animal soon after got out ; and 
they supposed it ran away, or was stolen. 

" The young man seeing his mother and sister fading away 
under anxiety and want of rest, told them he could bear his 
affliction better by himself, and would therefore so to Ireland, 
his native countfjr, and reside in some detailed country 
cottage, where he could fish and shoot. 

" He went. Before his departure I once heard the poor 
fellow say, * It is hard to be so pimished : but perhaps I have 
deserved it.' 

" I learned afterwards, that there was more than a suspicion 
that he had abandoned an unfortunate girl who 

* Loved not wisely, but too well j' 

and that she died in America. Be this as it may, in Ireland, 
as elsewhere, the visitation followed him unceasingly. 

" This spirit never spoke, never answered questions ; and 
the mode of communicating now so general was not then 
known. If it had been, there might have been a different 

"As it was, Robert L 's mode of life in his native 

country gave his mother great anxiety. I had no clue, how- 
ever, to his ultimate fate ; for his sister would not tell me 
where in Ireland he had made his miserable home. 

" My friend Kate married immediately after her brother 
left. She was a bride, a mother, and a corpse within a year ; 
and her death really broke her mother's heart : so that in 
two years the family seemed to have vanished, as if I had 
never known them. I have sometimes thought, however, 
that if the dear old lady had not received such a shock from 
her son's spiritual visitor, she would not have been crushed 
by the loss of her daughter ; but she told me she had nothing 
left to bind her to this world. 

" I have often regretted that I had not watched with my 


young friend one night ; but the facts I have thrown together 
were known to certainly twenty persons in London." * 

One rarely finds a narrative better authenticated, or more 
strongly indicating the reality of an ultra-mundane agency, 
than this. It is attested by the name of a lady weU and 
favourably known to the literary world. It is true that, 
deterred by her fears, she did not personally witness the 
disturbances. But if she had, would it have added mate- 
rially to the weight of her testimony as it stands ? Could 
she doubt the reality of these appalling demonstrations? 
Can we doubt it? The testimony of the sister and the 
mother, whose livens this fearful visitation darkened if it did 
not shorten, to say nothing of the corroborative evidence 
furnished by friends who sat up with them expressly to seek 
out some explanation — can we refuse credit to all thus ? The 
haggard and careworn looks of the sufierer, his bKghted life 
— could these have been simulated ? The confession to his 
family, wrung from him by the recurrence, in his mother's 
house, of the torment he could no longer conceal — could that 
be a lie ? Dumb animals attested the contrary. The death 
of the canary-bird, the terror of the dog — could fancy cause 
the one or create the other ? Or shall we resort to the hypo- 
thesis of human agency ? Ten years had the avenging 
sounds pursued the unfortimate man. In tent or tavern, in 
country or city, go where he would, the terrible Intrusion 
still dogged his steps. The maternal home was no city of 
refuge from the pursuer. To the wilds of Ireland it followed 
the culprit in his retreat. Even if such human vengeance 
were conceivable, would not human ingenuity be powerless to 
carry it out ? 

But, if we concede the reality and the spiritual character 
of the demonstration, are we to admit also the explanation 
hypothetically suggested by the narrator? Was Robert 

L really thus punished, through life, for one of the 

worst, because one of the most sem^ and heartless and 
misery-bringing, in the Hst of human sins? He himself 
seemed to be of that opinion : " Perhaps I have deserved it " 
was the verdict of his conscience. It may be rash, with our 
present Kmited knowledge of ultra-mundane laws, to assert 
anything in the premises ; knowing, as we do, that tens of 

* Extnusted from Mrs. Hall's letter to me, dated London, March 31, 1859. 


thousands of such offenders pass through life unwhipped of 
justice.* Yet, if we reject that hypothesis, what other, more 
plausible, remains ? 

Even if we accept that explanation, however, it is not to 
be assumed, as of course, that it was the spirit of his poor 
victim that thus ceaselessly followed her deserter, the be- 
trayer of her trust. Love may be changed, for a time, into 
vehement dislike: it is difficmt to believe that, after the 
earthly tenement is gone, it should harden into hate eternal 
and unrelenting. And we can conceive that some other de- 
parted spirit, of evil nature, obtaining power over the 
wretched man by the aid of an impressible temperament 
wrought upon by a conscience haunted by remorse, might 
have been permitted (who can tell under what law or for 
what purpose ?) to visit, with such retribution, the evil deed. 

But here we enter the regions of conjecture. These events 
happened long before Spiritualism had become a distinctive 
name. No attempt was made to communicate with the 
sounds. No explanation, therefore, trustworthy or apocry- 
phal, was reached. There was no chance, then, given to con- 
ciliate ; no opportunity afforded for propitiation. 

It has been alleged that, in many modem instances of what 
had assimied the character of spiritual interference, the dis- 
turbance ceased when communication, by knockings, was 
sought and obtained. So it might have been, as Mrs. Hall 

suggests, in the case of Robert L . And, if so, the 

spirit-rap, lightly esteemed by many as it is, might have 
brought to repentance and saved from hopeless suffering — 
possibly premature death — a young man with heavy guilt, 
indeed, upon his soul, yet not a sinner above all men that 
dwelt in London. 

* It does not by any means follow, however, that because many similar 
offenders escape nnpnnished, there was* nothing retributive in the incidents 
here related. In this mysterionsly-govemed world some criminals escape, 
while others, less guilty perhaps, are overtaken. "Those eighteen upon 
whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were 
sinners above all men thaf^dwelt in Jerusalem ?" — ^Luke xiii. 4. 



A PLEASANTER task remains ; to speak, namely, of the indi- 
cations that reach us of ultra-mundane aid and spiritual 

Three stories have come to my knowledge, in each of which 
the subject of the narrative is alleged to have been saved 
from death by an apparition seeming to be the counterpart of 
himself: one related of an English clergyman, travelling, 
late at night, in a lonely lane, by whose side the figure sud- 
denly appeared, and thus (as the clergyman afterwards ascer- 
tained) deterred two men, bent on miirder and robbery, from 
attacking him ; and both the others — ^the one occurring to a 
student in Edinburgh, the other to a fashionable young man 
in Berlin — ^being examples in which the seer is said to have 
been warned from occupying his usual chamber, which, had 
he occupied, he would have perished by the falling in of a 
portion of the house. 

But these anecdotes, though for each there is plausible 
evidence, do not come within the rule I have laid down to 
myself of sufficient authentication. 

A somewhat similar story is related and vouched for by 
Jung Stilling, of a certain Professor Bohm, of Marburg, in 
whose case, however, the warning came by an urgent presen- 
timent only, not by an actual apparition.* 

Such a case of presentiment, though the danger was to 
another, not to the subject of it, came to me, through the 
kindness of a lady, at first hand, as follows : — 


Those who were familiar with the political history of our 
country twenty years ago remember well Dr. Linn, of Mis- 
souri. Distinguished for talents and professional ability, but 
yet more for the excellence of his heart, he received, by a 
distinction as rare as it was honourable, the unanimous vote 

* " Theorie der Geisterknnde." 


of the Legislature for the office of Senator of the United 

In discharge of his Congressional duties, he was residing 
with his family in Washington, during the spring and 
summer of 1840, the last year of Mr. Van Buren's admini- 

One day during the month of May of that year, Dr. and 
Mrs. Linn received an invitation to a large and formal dinner 
party, given by a public fimctionary, and to which the most 
prominent members of the Administration party, including 
the President himself and our present Chief Magistrate, Mr. 
Buchanan, were invited guests. Dr. Linn was very anxious 
to be present ; but, when the day came, finding himself suf- 
fering from an attack of indigestion, he begged his wife to 
bear his apology in person, and make one of the dinner- 
party, leaving him at home. To this she somewhat reluc- 
tantly consented. She was accompanied to the door of their 
host by a friend. General Jones, who promised to return and 
remain with Dr. Linn during the evening. 

At table Mrs. Linn sat next to General Macomb, who had 
conducted her to dinner ; and immediately opposite to her sat 
Silas Wright, Senator from New York, the most intimate 
friend of her husband, and a man bv whose death, shortly 
after, the country sustained an irreparable loss. 

Even during the early part of the dinner, Mrs. Linn felt 
very imeasy about her husband. She tried to reason herself 
out of this, as she knew that his indisposition was not at aU 
serious ; but in vain. She mentioned her uneasiness to 
General Macomb ; but he reminded her of what she herself 
had previously told him — that General Jones had promised 
to remain with Dr. Linn, and that, in the very imlikely con- 
tingency of any sudden illness, he would be sure to apprise 
her of it. Notwithstanding these representations, as dumer 
drew towards a close this unaccountalue uneasiness increased 
to such an uncontrollable impulse to return home, that, as 
she expressed it to me, she felt that she could not sit there a 
moment longer. Her sudden paUor was noticed by Senator 
Wright, and excited his alarm. "I am sure you are ill, 
Mrs. Linn," he said : " what is the matter ?" She replied 
that she was quite well, but that she miist return to her 
husband. Mr. Wright sought, as General Macomb had 
done, to calm her fears ; but she replied to him, " If you 
wish to do me a favour for which I shall be gratefiil while I 
live, make some excuse to our host, so that we can leave the 

334 A husband's life saved. 

table." Seeing her so greatly excited, lie complied with her 
request, though they were then but serving the dessert ; and 
he and Mrs. Wright accompanied Mrs. Linn home. 

As they were taking leave of her at the door of hex 
lodgings, Senator Wright said, " I shall call to-morrow morn- 
ing, and have a good £ugh with the doctor and yourself over 
your panic apprehensions." 

As Mrs. Linn passed hastily up-stairs, she met the land- 
lady. "How is Dr. Linn?" she anxiously asked. "Very 
well, I beKeve," was the reply : " he took a bath more than 
an hour ago, and I dare say is sound asleep by this time. 
General Jones said he was domg extremely well." 

" The general is with him, is he not ?" 

" I beheve not. I think I saw him pass out about half an 
hour ago." 

In a measure reassured, Mrs. Linn hastened to her hus- 
band's bed-chamber, the door of which was closed. As she 
opened it, a dense smoke burst upon her, in such stifling 
quantity that she staggered and fell on the threshold. Reco- 
vering herself after a few seconds, she rushed into the room. 
The bolster was on fire, and the feathers burned with a 
bright glow and a suffocating odour. She threw herself 
upon the bed ; but the fire, half smothered till that moment, 
was fanned by the draught from the opened door, and, kind- 
ling into sudden flame, caught her light dress, which was in 
a blaze on the instant. At the same moment her eye fell on 
the large bath-tub that had been used by her husband. She 
sprang into it, extinguishing her burning dress ; then, re- 
turning to the bed, she caught up the pillow and a sheet 
that was on fire, scorching her arms in so doing, and plunged 
both into the water. Finally, exerting her utmost strength, 
she drew from the bed her insensible husband. It was then 
only that .she called to the people of the house for aid. 

Dr. Sewell was instantly summoned. But it was fiill half 
an hour before the sufferer gave any signs whatever of return- 
ing animation. He did not leave his bed for nearly a week ; 
and it was three months before he entirely recovered from 
the effects of this accident. 

" How fortunate it was," said Dr. SeweU to Mrs. Linn, 
" that you arrived at the very moment you did ! Five minutes 
more — ^nay, three minutes — ^and, in all human probability, 
you would have never seen your husband alive again." 

Mr. Wright called, as ne promised, the next morning. 
" Well, Mrs. Linn," said he, smiling, " you have found out 


by tins time Low foolish that strange presentiment of yours 


" Come up-stairs," she replied. And she led him to his 
fiiend, scarcely yet able to speak : and then she showed him 
the remains of the half-consumed bolster and partially-burned 

Whether the sight changed his opinion on the subject of 
presentiments I cannot tell ; but he turned pale as a corpse, 
(Mrs. Linn said,) and did not utter a word. 

I had all the above particulars from Mrs. Linn herself,* 
together with the permission to publish them in illustration 
of the subject I am treating, attested by date and names. 

There is one point in connection with the above narrative 
which is worthy of special examination. In case we admit 
that Mrs. Linn's irresistible impulse to leave the dinner-table 
was a spiritual impression, the question remains, was it a 
warning of evil then existing, or was it a presentiment of evil 
that was still to arise ? Li other words, was it in its cha- 
racter only clairvoyant, or was it in its . nature clearly 
prophetic ? 

The impression was distinctly produced on Mrs. Linn;s 
mind, as that lady told me, at least half an hour before it 
became so urgent as to compel her to leave the entertainment. 
When she did leave, as the carriages were not ordered till 
eleven o'clock, and no hackney coach was at hand, she and 
Mr. and Mrs. Wright, as she farther stated to me, returned 
on foot. The distance being a mile and a-half, they were 
fully half an hour in walking it. It follows that Mrs. Linn 
was impressed to return more than an hour before she opened 
the door of the bedroom. 

Now, it is highly improbable that the fire should have 
caught, or that anytning should have happened likely to lead 
to it, in the bedroom as much as an hour, or even half an . 
hour, before Mrs. Linn's arrival. But if not — ^if, at the 
moment Mrs. Linn was first impressed, no condition of things 
existed which, to human perceptions, could indicate danger — 
then, unless we refer the whole to chance coincidence, the case 
is one involving not only a warning presentiment, but a 
prophetic instinct. 

More distinct still, as an example of what seems protective 

* In Washington, on the 4th of July, 1859. 


336 THE trapper's story. • 

agency, is the following from a recent work by the Rev. Dr. 


"As I sat by the fire, one stormy November nigbt, in a 
hotel-parlour, in the Napa Valley of California, there came in 
a most venerable and benignant-looking person, with his wife, 
taking their seats in the circle. The stranger, as I afterwards 
learned, was Captain Yount, a man who came over into 
Califomia, as a trapper, more than forty years ago. Here he 
has lived, apart from the great World and its questions, ac- 
quiring an immense landed estate, and becoming a kind of 
acknowledged patriarch in the country. His tall, manly per- 
son, and his gracious, paternal look, as totally unsophisticated 
in the expression as if he had never heard of a philosophic 
doubt or question in his life, marked him as the true patriarch, i 
The conversation turned, I know not how, on spiritism and 
the modem necromancy ; and he discovered a degree of inclina- 
tion to believe in the reported mysteries. His wife, a much 
younger and apparently Christian person, intimated that pro- 
bably he was predisposed to this kind of faith by a very 
peciuiar experience of his own, and evidently desired that he 
might be drawn out by some intelligent discussion of his t 
queries. I 

"At my request, he gave me his story. About six or i 
seven years previous, in a mid- winter's night, he had a dream [ 
in which he saw what appeared to be a company of emigrants I 
arrested by the snows of the mountains and perishing rapidly ' 
by cold and hunger. He noted the very cast of the scenery, ' 
marked by a huge perpendicular front of white rock cliff ; he ♦ 
saw the men cutting off what appeared to be tree-tops rising 
out of deep gulfs of snow ; he distinguished the very features i 
of the persons and the look of their particular distress. He 
woke profoundly impressed with the distinctness and apparent 
reality of his dream. At length he fell asleep and (fi'eamed 
exactly the same dream again. In the morning he coidd not 
expel it from his mind. Falling in, shortly, with an old 
hunter comrade, he told him the story, and was only the more 
deeply impressed by his recognising, without hesitation, the 
scenery of the dream. This comrade had come over the 
Sierra by the Carson Valley Pass, and declared that a spot in 
the pass answered exactly to his description. By 4;his the 
unsophisticated patriarch was decided. He immediately col- 
lected a company of men with mules and blankets and all 


necessary provisions. The neighbours were laughing, mean- 
time, at his credulity. * No matter,^ said he : * I am able to 
do this, and I will; for I verily beUeve that the fact is 
according to my dreanu' The men were sent into the 
mountains, one hundred and fifty miles distant, directly to 
the Carson Yalley Pass. And there they found the company 
in exactly the condition of the dream, and brought in the 
remnant alive."* 

Dr. BushneU adds, that a gentleman present said to him, 
"You need have no doubt of this; for we Califomians all 
know the facts and the names of the families brought in, who 
now look upon our venerable friend as a kind of saviour.'* 
These names he gave, together with the residences of each ; 
and Dr. Bushnell avers that he found the Califomians every- 
where ready to second the old man's testimony. " Nothing 
could be more natural," continues the doctor, " than for the 
good-hearted patriarch himself to add that the brightest thing 
in his life, and that which gave him the greatest joy, was his 
simple faith in that dream." 

Here is a fact known and acknowledged by a whole com- 
munity. That it actually occurred is beyond cavil. But how 
could it occur by chance ? In the illimitable wintry wilder- 
ness, with its hundred passes and its thousand emigrants, how 
can a purely accidental fancy be supposed, without ultra-mun- 
dane interference, to shape into the semblance of reality a 
scene actually existing a hundred and fifty miles off, though 
wholly imknown to the dreamer — ^not the landscape only, 
with its white cliffs and its snow-buried trees, but the starving 
travellers cutting- the tree-tops in a vain effort to avert cold 
and famine? He who credits this believes a marvel far 
greater than the hypothesis of spiritual guardianship. 

•In support of that hypothesis, however, there are well- 
attested narratives, indicating, more directly than this story 
of the Californian trapper, loving care on the part of the 
departed. One of these wiU be found in a work on the 
supernatural by the Rev. Dr. Edwards. He communicates it 
in the shape of an " extract of a letter from an enlightened 
and learned divine in the north of Germany." The incident 
occurred, he tells us, at Levin, a village belonging to the 
Duchy of Mecklenburg, not far from Demmin, in JPrussian 

* " Nature and the Supernatural," hj Horace Bushnell, New York, 1858, 
pp. 475, 476. 



Pomeranla, on tlie Sunday before Michaelmas, in the year 
1759. The extract referred to (the title only added by me) is 
as follows ; — 


" I will now, in conclusion, mention to you a very edifying 
story of an apparition, for the truth of which I can vouch, 
with all that is dear to me. My late mother, a pattern of 
true piety, and a woman who was regular in prayer, lost, quite 
unexpectedly, after a short illness, arising from a sore-throat, 
my yoimger sister, a girl of about fourteen years of age. 
Now, as during her illness she had not spoken much with her 
on spiritual subjects, by no means supposing her end so near 
(although my father had done so), she reproached and grieved 
herself most profoundly, not only on this account, but also for 
not having sufficiently nursed and attended upon her, or for 
having neglected something, that might have brought on her 
death. This feeling took so much hold of her, that she not 
only altered much in her appearance, from loss of appetite, 
but became so monosyllabic in speaking that she never 
expressed herself except on being interrogated. She still, 
however, continued to pray diligently in her chamber. 
Being already grown up at tne time, I spoke with my father 
respecting her, and asked him what was to be done, and how 
my good mother might be comforted. He shrugged his 
shoulders, and gave me to understand that, unless God inter- 
posed, he feared the worst. 

*' Now, it happened, some days after, when we were all, one 
Sunday morning, at church, with the exception of my mother, 
who remained at home, that on rising up from prayer, in her 
closet, she heard a noise as though some one was with her in 
the room. On looking about to ascertain whence the noise 
proceeded, something took hold of her invisibly, and pressed 
her firmly to it, as if she had been embraced by some one, and 
the same moment she heard — ^without seeing anything what- 
ever — ^very distinctly, the voice of her departed daughter, 
saying quite plainly to her, ^Mammal mammal I am so 
happy! I am so happy!* Immediately after these words, 
the pressure subsided, and my mother felt and heard nothing 
more. But what a wished-for change did we all perceive in 
our dear mother on coming home ! She had regained her 
speech and former cheerfulness; she ate and drank, and 
rejoiced with us at the mercy which the Lord had bestowed 
upon her; nor during her whole life did she even notice 


again, with grief, the great loss which she had suffered by the 
decease of this excellent daughter." * 

That this was a case of hallucination of two senses, hearing 
and feeling, can be considered-probable only if no unequivoc^ 
examples of similar agency can be found. And if, to some 
persons, speech by an inhabitant of another world, audible 
upon earth, seem an impossible phenomenon, let them read 
the following, communicated to me by a gentleman to whose 
lady, as our readers have seen, I am indebted for one of the 
most striking narratives in connection with personal inter- 


"At Worcester, a few weeks since, I accidentally met, at 
the house of a banker in that city, a lady whom I had not 
previously known ; and from her lips I heard a stoiy of a 
character so extraordinary that no common-place voucher for 
the veracity of the narrator would suffice, in the eyes of most 
people, to establish its authenticity. 

" Nor was it an ordinary testimonial which, on applying 
to our host, he furnished to me. He had known the lady, he 
said, for more than thirty years. * So great is her truth,' he 
added, *so easily provea is her uprightness, that I cannot 
entertain a doubt that she herself believes whatever she says.' 
Blameless in her walk and conversation, he regarded it as an 
incredibility that she should seek to deceive. Of strong mind, 
and intelligent upon all subjects, it seemed almost as difficult 
for him to imagine that in the narrative he had himself 
frequently heard from her lips — clear and circumstantial as it 
was — she should have been a self-deceiver. And thus he was 
in a dilemma. For the facts were of a character which he 
was extremely reluctant to admit ; while the evidence was of 
a stamp which it seemed impossible to question. 

" My own observation of the lady, stranger as she was to 
me, confirmed everything which her friend the banker had 
told me in her favour. There was in her face aad manner, 
even in the tones of her voice, that nameless something, 
rarely deceptive, which carries conviction of truth. As she 
repeated the story, I could not choose but trust to her sin- 
cerity ; and this the rather because she spoke with evident 

reluctance. ' It was rarely,' the banker said, * that she could 

» — — ^— . 

* " The Doctrine of the Supernatural Establislied," by Henry Edwards, 
D.D., LL.D., F.A.S., F.G.S., &c., London, 1845, pp. 226—28. 



be prevailed on to relate tte circiunstances ; her hearers being 
usually sceptics, more disposed to laugh than to sympathise 
with her/ 

" Add to this, that neither the lady nor the banker were 
believers in Spiritualism, ha^g heard, as they told me, 
* next to nothing' on the subject. 

" I commit no breach of confidence in the following com- 
munication. * If you speak of this matter,' said the lady to 
me, * I will ask you to suppress the name of the place in 
France where the occurrences took place.' This I have 
accordingly done. I may add that the incidents here related 
had been the frequent subject of conversation and comment 
between the lady and her friends. 

" Thus premising, I proceed to give the narrative as nearly 
as I can in the lady's words. 

" * About the year 1820,' she said, * we were residing at the 

seaport town of , in France, having removed thither 

from our residence in Suffolk. Our family consisted of my 
father, mother, sister, a young brother about the age of 
twelve, and myself, together with an English servant. Our 
house was in a lonely spot, on the outskirts of the town, with 
a broad, open beach around it, and with no other dwelling, 
nor any outbuildings, in its vicinity. 

" * One evening my father saw, seated on a fragment of 
rock only a few yards from his own door, a figure enveloped 
in a large cloak. Approaching him, my father bid him * good 
evening;' but, receiving no reply, he turned to dnter the 
house. Before doing so, however, he looked back, and, to 
his very great surprise, could see no one. His astonishment 
reached its height when, on returning to the rock where the 
figure had seemed seated, and searching all round it, he could 
discover no trace whatever of the appearance, although there 
was not the slightest shelter near where any one could have 
sought concealment. 

*^ * On entering the sitting-room, he said, " Children, I have 
seen a ghost !" at which, as may be supposed, we all heartily 

. " * That night, however, and for several succeeding nights, 
we heard strange noises in various parts of the house — some- 
times resembling moans underneath our window, sometimes 
sounding like scratches against the window-frames, while at 
other times it seemed as if a niunber of persons were scram- 
bling over the roof. We opened our window again and again, j 
calling out to know if any one were there, but received no answer, j 

GASPAB. 341 

" ' After some days, the noises made* their way into our 
bedroom, where my sister and myself (she twenty and I 
eighteen years of age) slept together. We alarmed the house, 
but received only reproaches, our parents believing that we 
were affected by siUy fancies. The noises in our room were 
usually knocks, sometimes repeated twenty or thirty times in 
a minute, sometimes with the space perhaps of a minute be- 
tween each. 

" * At length our parents also heard both the knockings in 
our room and the noises outside, and were fain to admit that 
it was no imagination. Then the incident of the ghost was 
revived. But none of us were seriously alarmed. We became 
accustomed to the disturbances. 

" ' One night, during the usual knockings, it occurred to 
me to say, aloud, " If you are a spirit, knock six times." 
Immediately I heard six knocks, very distinctly given, and 
no more. 

" * As time passed on, the noises became so familiar^ as to 
lose aU terrifying, even all disagreeable, effect ; and so matters 
passed for several weeks. 

" * But the most remarkable part of my story remains to be 
told. I should hesitate to repeat it to you, were not all the 
members of my family witnesses of its truth. My brother — 
then, it is true, a boy only, now a man in years, and high in 
his profession — ^will confirm every particular. 

" * Besides the knockings in our bedroom, we began to 
hear — ^usually in the parlour — what seemed a human voice. 
The first time this startling phenomenon occurred, the voice 
was heard to join in one of the domestic songs of the family 
while my sister was at the piano. You may imagine our 
astonishment. But we were not long left in doubt as to 
whether, in this instance, our imaginations had deceived us. 
After a time, the voice began to speak to us clearly and in- 
telligibly, joining from time to time in the conversation. 
The tones were low, slow, and solemn, but quite distinct : the 
language was imiformly French. 

" * The spirit — ^for such we called it — gave his name as 
Gaspar, but remained silent whenever we made inquiry 
touching his history and condition in life. Nor did he ever 
assign any motive for his communications with us. We re- 
ceived the impression that he was a Spaniard ; but I cannot 
recall any certain reason even for such belief. He always 
called the family by their Christian names. Occasionally he 
would repeat to us lines of poetry. He never spoke on sub- 


jects of a reKgious nature or tendency, but constantly incul- 
cated Christian moraUty, seeming desirous to impress upon 
us the wisdom of virtue and the beauty of harmony at home. 
Once, when my sister and myself had some slight dispute, we 

heard the voice saying, ** M is wrong ; S is right." 

From the time he first declared himself h© was continuaQy 
giving us advice,, and always for good* 

" * On one occasion my father was extremely desirous to 
recover some valuable papers which he feared might have 
been lost. Glaspar told him exactly where they were, in our 
old house in Suffolk ; and there, sure enough, in the very place 
he designated, they were found. 

" * The matter went on in this manner for more than three 
years. Every member of the family, including the servants, 
had heard the voice. The presence of the spirit — ^for we 
could not help regarding him as present — ^was always a plea- 
sure to us all. We came to regard him as our companion 
and protector. One day he said, " I shall not be with you again 
for some months." And, accordingly, for several months his 
visits intermitted. When, one evening at the end of that 
time, we again heard the weU-known voice, " I am with you 
again V* we hailed his return with joy. 

" ' At the times the voice was heard, we never saw any ap- 
pearance ; but one evening my brother said, " Gaspar, I 
should like to see you ;" to which the voice replied, " You 
shall see me. I will meet you if you go to the farthest side 
of the square." He went, and retumod presently, saying, 
" I have seen Gaspar. He was in a large cloak, with a broad' 
brimmed hat. I looked under the hat, and he s